The Walloon Brabant community court on Monday sentenced Benoit O., a 56-year-old resident of Genappe, to 75 hours’ community service for kidnapping and abandoning his neighbours’ dog. Benoit O, who will have to serve 10 months in prison if he fails to comply with the sentence, was also ordered to pay more than 5,000 euros to the plaintiffs.
The defendant, who had complained that the animal often tore up his garbage bags, had abducted it in September 2017 and taken it to France, where he left it in a highway rest area. The dog was never found.
At the hearing Benoit O, who also had to answer other questions about conflicts with his neighbours, said he was sorry for what had happened and that he had never wanted to hurt the dog.
He said he was convinced the animal was in good health because he had run off into an area with fields as far as the eye could see.
“There was, above all, a highway,” the prosecution responded as it called for the community-service sentence imposed on him by the court on Monday.
On the day of the event, the dog had left his owners’ yard and had been picked up by another area resident. However, the defendant wrenched the animal from the arms of the benevolent neighbour and threw it into his truck, saying he would take care of it.
He originally wanted to take it to a shelter in Luxembourg Province so that it would not be too easy for the neighbours to retrieve him, but he found none, so he decided to continue driving along Highway E411, crossing the borders with Luxembourg and France.
He tried to give the animal to a trucker, who declined the offer. The Genappe resident then drove on to the nearest rest stop, where, he claimed, the dog escaped.
He was never found even though he wore an identification chip.