A small (found guilty with 11-month penalty with suspension) but huge victory.
On Friday March 29th after several postponements, trial of one of the members of the family which systematically abuse equines in Aspropyrgos the last decades was finally done. Refreshing your memory, it is about the case of 2016 when police escorted our association at this hell place for animals after our complaint at the District attorney. Father who is the leader of the abusers disappeared leaving back his son facing all legal consequences. So, this trial was about one of the sons involved in animal abuse.
President of the Court, while case number 5 was detained, suddenly asked if cases from number 14 to 16 (among them was ours) wanted to declare if they request a postponement. Lawyer of the abuser appeared not asking for a postponement and the case immediately began to be dealt much earlier than expected. We understood something strange was going on.
His defense line was based on the concepts of "keeper" and "owner of equidae" according to the definitions of the Civil Code and the notorious ADAMI, a Greek version to skip Equine passport legislation. Concepts that have been clarified in Europe, in Greece, the refusal of the Ministry of Rural Development and Food to incorporate Community and control regulations for equidae, especially in the last decade, leave dealers, backyard breeders and lawyers to do what they want and the rest of us to swim in a basket full of shit. To make long story short, the son “did not know” what was happening, he “did not see” the dying animals,” he did not understand”, Dad is the owner and competent authorities live in their own myth.
Any document proving the truth such as:
The circular which states that ADAMI is not a document of ownership,
The new administrative fine by the police on 17.11.2018 for the same miserable space - culprit,
The Community regulation 2015/262 which clarifies that the holder has the same obligations as the owner, were not accepted. Looking at the pictures of malnourished animals the President told us that he did not see all the animals in bad shape. Shall we call it problems with his eyes? Lack of judgment? or something else? According to this behavior we understood that only by repeating the truth we could have a chance to defend poor animals we saved in December 2016.
Then they called as a witness another member of the family, whose first statement was that he belongs to the Union for Human Rights (more socially accepted than us dealing with animals) and defended the accused abuser saying: he is a religious church person (we suspected that because they feed animals with leftovers from the church) , he does not smoke, he is a good kid (44 years old), he is poor and the day the police found him in the area in front of malnourished equines together with a prospective buyer, he was there just to visit his father because he doesn’t go to his house since he is in bad relation with his stepmother. Besides, he continued, they are a good and respectful family since one brother is a policeman in the area’s Police Station. Best of the day was the question of their lawyer who was asking us constantly: do you know where his house is? It is impossible to go there for the animals because it is far away. We replied that we are not aware of his address and we thought maybe he lives in Miami.
He lives in Aegaleo (25 minutes away from his father’s business) attorney responded with a laugh, turning as proud as he could to the President of the court. “You see? It is far away he cannot go to Aspropyrgos everyday” !!!!!
Fortunately, the Prosecutor understood that it is about an illegal family business of kill pen buyers with no respect for animal welfare and their wish for absolution did not happen. He was found guilty and sentenced to 11 months with suspension due to previous honesty. The bell may not have been heavy but it was a major victory in a catty game that seemed to have been played and still being played elsewhere.
Let us point out that those who contacted us to tell us how much this family has been abusing animals for years and that they have bought horses from them just to save them, disappeared. But we were always there, canceling professional obligations, sometimes in sick, with the support of few and loyal friends. With only companion fellow friends who were not afraid and the Panhellenic Animal Welfare Federation we managed to make it. We will continue until we stop them forever.