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133 mistreated animals seized in Brussels last year

20:10 12/02/2024

Brussels Environment registered 92 complaints for animal cruelty in 2023, resulting in the seizured of 133 mistreated animals in 42 operations, according to new figures from Brussels animal welfare minister Bernard Clerfayt.

Animals seized included 54 dogs, 61 cats, eight birds, two rodents, a rabbit, a horse and six spiders. Interventions stem from a multitude of reasons including lack of hygiene, neglect, malnutrition and untreated diseases.

The number of seizures has increased by 40% since 2019, but the 92 complaints filed last year represent a 27.5% decrease compared to 2022.

“Animal abuse should not be taken lightly – that’s why Brussels Environment inspectors are stepping up their efforts by using warnings, official reports and, in some cases, seizures,” Clerfayt said in a statement.

“A new Brussels Animal Welfare Code, which is currently under consideration by the Council of State, contains new tools to prevent and punish animal welfare violations more efficiently.”

The code provides for an increase in the amount of fines for animal cruelty, which could rise from €100,000 today for the most serious infringements to €500,000. The revised code also includes new tools to punish the perpetrators of infringements,.

Clerfayt’s office emphasises that reporting animal abuse ensures action can be taken in problematic cases and, if necessary, seizures can be made.

After seizure, animals are generally temporarily entrusted to a shelter, pending a decision on where the animal will end up. That decision is made by Brussels Environment and must take place within two months of the seizure.

Written by Helen Lyons