The Brussels region’s environmental agency Bruxelles Environnement last year received 189 complaints of maltreatment of animals, 151 one which were found to be grounded.
In 30 cases, a total of 70 animals were seized. These animals are generally housed in a shelter until a definitive decision can be made about where they will live. Bruxelles Environnement is also responsible of animal welfare in the capital.
The reasons for seizure vary: sick animals, animals mistreated or under-nourished. Likewise, the animals affected also vary: 30 dogs, 17 birds, one monkey, five bulls, one cow, six fish and one flying fox – neither a fox nor able to fly, but a small marsupial that glides between trees.
“We have to be cautious,” said Berbard Clerfayt, Brussels minister for animal welfare. “An increase in the number of complaints does not automatically mean an increase in the abuse of animals. It means rather than on the one hand, people are more sure about where to address a complaint, and on the other hand that the people of Brussels are more conscious now of the conditions animals are kept in.”
Meanwhile this week, a court in Leuven sentenced a woman from Scherpenheuvel-Zichem to a lifetime ban on keeping any animal, after she was found guilty of animal cruelty concerning the 35 cats she kept in her home. The cats were found to be living in extremely unhygienic circumstances, and had also been deprived of medical care for such conditions as ear infections, infected teeth and nasal complaints. They were also underweight, being fed with insufficient and unsuitable food.
As well the lifetime ban, the woman was also fined €800.