Tuesday 11 May 2021 | 6

Hearing in Blois on 12 May 2021 for acts of cruelty on the Poliakovs’ animals

Hearing in Blois on 12 May 2021 for acts of cruelty on the Poliakovs’ animals

Mis à jour le 21 June 2021

On Wednesday 12 May at 13:30, at the Blois criminal court, the trial for the serious abuse, acts of cruelty and mistreatment committed by the professionals will be held, following the charges that we filed against the Poliakov-Bruneau couple. They are also being prosecuted for having put their animals in an environment likely to make them suffer.
To support our argument: the inspection reports by the Prefecture’s veterinary services, the expertise of bear specialists, the witness accounts of previous employees of the couple, and some two hundred hours of video footage from our investigation.
A gathering of activists from our association, AVES [A Voice for Endangered Species], Paris Zoopolis and the Animalist Party will take place in front of the court just before the hearing.

Hr blog

Edited on 13 May 2021:

The court’s decision will be announced on 1 September 2021 at 13:30.
You can consult the key moments from the trial on our Twitter feed.

Do we need to remind you of the conditions in which Micha, Bony and Glasha had to survive? In nefarious prisons open to draughts, fed with mouldy fruits and vegetables, living with rats potentially carrying diseases which, for the bears, have not been treated for years and years… Little Mina, kept for six years in a space measuring 50 square centimetres, then transferred in her current cage which had appeared previously to only be a waste disposal at the property with so many empty yogurt pots and other items accumulating there. The Poliakovs didn’t even have permission to keep her! The horses’ hooves weren’t trimmed and the rare birds, macaws and cockatoos, as well as the turtledoves were kept confined in cages inside a shed without daylight.

But no one forced the couple to keep animals!

They were attached to them, we were told during the court hearings… Can you believe it?
The maggots were teeming, not only on Micha’s paws but also coming out of his respiratory tract. The bear, who had scarring from repeated beatings on his battered body, had lost a considerable amount of weight and on an ongoing basis for at least four years.
The laryngeal cancer, which he was diagnosed with after we had sent our images to the Ministry of Ecology and distributed them publicly, had only been detected because Micha had been removed from the Poliakovs’ custody! Without this, he would have died in his medieval cell in utter silence, far from public view and without their knowledge.

What would have happened to Bony and Glasha? To Mina? To the birds? What would happen without this indispensable work that we’ve carried out by keeping watch and whistleblowing? The animals die without anyone worrying about it, since the State itself, at a ministerial level, doesn’t list the animals kept by the trainers. And on a Prefectural level, they are satisfied with the inspections, that could be politely described as lenient, by staff who aren’t specialised in the species concerned and who are understaffed, and who over the years make reports without clamping down. This is what is happening for so many of them.

Keeping wild animals and keeping them captive is nonsensical, even more so based on current scientific knowledge and the serious threats that endanger them in the wild. But since the law allows it under certain conditions, this must ensure accountability of these people who are, in frustrating circumstances, professionals. In any case, the animals should not be subjected to such moral, emotional, and medical misery.

Muriel Arnal, President of One Voice, stated:

« Our investigators have taken many risks to show the reality of the prison conditions, which led Ms Borne, then Minister of Ecology, to intervene immediately, and we thank her for this. Their courage is far from that of the authorities who turned a blind eye for years. They knew and had seen Mina being kept illegally for six years in a 50cm2 cage in the back of the lorry, which the bears only came out of to go on the runway. Back in 2005, we alerted the authorities and the public, with supporting images, on what the animals were enduring and the infractions of the measly legislation. Today, nothing has changed for animals being kept illegally by circus trainers. Who will finally have the courage to apply the legislation in force? We aren’t asking for anything else. Why does this lenience never end? We hope that this trial will highlight these scandals which are continuously repeated. »

For our lawyer, Ms Moreau, “over more than twelve years, the owners have left domestic and non-domestic species of animals to live in conditions which have caused great suffering… In any case, these animals have not been kept in conditions designed for their well-being and health.” As for the mistreatment, the owners have acted with full knowledge of the facts, given that they are professionals who hold certifications. In addition, Mr Poliakov is an habitual offender. Finally, concerning the acts of cruelty, the witness accounts are explicit. He used violence towards the animals, notably when he was in an inebriated state.

We are requesting that all of the animals kept by the couple are taken away from them and that they are entrusted to us and that permanent custody of Bony and Glasha is given to the sanctuaries who have taken them into their care. But this doesn’t stop here: we request that the Poliakov-Bruneau couple can never keep animals or perform professional or social activities linked to animals.


  • 19 September 2019: the experts who we made an appeal to to analyse the videos sound the alarm regarding the state of the bears and their prison conditions. We receive witness accounts from previous employees who attest to the detrimental circumstances of the animals on the property and of Mr Poliakov and Mrs Bruneau’s violence.
  • 5-8 November 2019: our public actions trigger a response from the Prefecture… We essentially file an appeal (Administrative Court) against the Prefect with regard to the abuse of authority (because they have not acted for the animals). On the 8th, we file a suspended injunction to retract the trainers’ competency certificates, to cancel their permit to open and to seize Bony, Glasha and all of the other animals (the hearings took place on 15 April 2021: rejected by the court)
  • 12 November 2019: Micha is operated on and dies at La Tanière.
  • 25 November 2019: new images of the jails barricaded and first images of Mina. The prefect orders custody of Bony and Glasha.
  • 29 November 2019: Bony and Glasha temporarily leave their jails and are transferred to the sanctuaries where they still are today. (On 29 April 2021, after a voluntary intervention at the hearing on 15 April 2021, we ensure that they cannot be taken back by the Poliakovs).
  • 3 January 2020: the Poliakovs hinder the unexpected inspection by the State’s services.
  • 15/29 April 2021: three hearings on the same day and a decision on the charges at the Administrative Court for abuse of power, retraction of the competency certificates and of the permit to open the establishment, as well as the removal of Mina and other animals. Voluntary intervention in the case of the Prefecture against the Poliakovs, to assure us that Bony and Glasha will never be returned to the Poliakovs.
  • 12 May 2021: at the Criminal Court in Blois for the criminal charges against the Poliakovs, following our charges filed on 6 September 2019 and the additional ones which followed.

Translated from the French by Joely Justice

Julia Mothé
Hr blog

In the subject

Against all odds for Samba, the last ‘circus’ elephant, whose suffering has broken the State’s indifference We will defend the animals from the Franco-Belge Circus before the courts.

Comments 6

I accept that publication of my comments is subject to the code of conduct.

Mari | Saturday 04 September 2021

Enfin quelqu'un qui prend ses responsabilités. Nous remercions Madame Borne de l'avoir fait.
Il faut que ces gens soient sévèrement punis
J'ai regardé le reportage hier sur la Tanière. Ce pauvre ours a dû souffrir le martyre. Les gens de la Tanière ont fait ce qu'ils pouvaient.
Plus jamais ça !!!!

Nadia | Friday 27 August 2021

L’indifférence de ces gens contre la maltraitance de ces animaux ...!
Comment ont ils pu trouver le sommeil et continuer de vivre comme s' ils n’avaient rien vu de cette horreur ….
Les Poliakov sont des tortionnaires qui ne doivent plus jamais s’approcher d’un animal.
La justice doit aller dans ce sens, elle n’a pas le droit de laisser ces gens torturer encore des animaux.
Micha m’a fendu le cœur, j’ai même pleuré devant tant de souffrance dans son regard!
Ces deux personnes doivent être punies sans aucune circonstance atténuante, sans aucun sursis
J’espère qu’ils seront punis par la justice à la hauteur de leur cruauté .
Je ne sais pas comment nommer l'innommable.
La peine devrait être choisie par l’association qui défend Micha !

marie-claude | Saturday 05 June 2021

J'espère que les POLIAKOVS seront punis pour avoir fait subir de la maltraitance à leurs animaux, maintenant justice!

Stella | Wednesday 19 May 2021

Que c'est dur de savoir que Micha et ses compagnons auraient pu être délivrés de cet enfer il y a plus de 5 ans au moins, pris en charge et soignés, mais qu'ils ont été abandonnés par une administration indifférente à leur sort. Comment peut-on rester insensible à ces images ? Elles étaient criante la détresse de Micha sur les photos.. Comment peut-on tolérer de laisser un être vivre dans un cachot ? Micha serait peut-être encore vivant aujourd'hui, Tous ces êtres n'ont rien fait de mal qui justifie d'avoir été maltraités ainsi..
Quid de Mina et des autres ???