Thursday 25 January 2024 | 41

Justice for Jon, Céleste, Patty, Hannah, and Marli: hearing in Évreux against the Cirque de Paris

Justice for Jon, Céleste, Patty, Hannah, and Marli: hearing in Évreux against the Cirque de Paris

Mis à jour le 16 May 2024

The rescue of Jon and lionesses Céleste, Patty, Hannah, and Marli from the Cirque de Paris where they were kept will forever remain in our memories. And in those of the veterinarians who helped us with their rescue. A lion in the state that Jon was has never been seen by these professionals, even though they carry out their work in zoos and circuses in war-torn countries. The lionesses who were sharing their lorry-cage were dead on their feet. Unfortunately, the legal fight to ensure that they are taken to safety is not yet over: a new hearing has been set by the Évreux legal tribunal for 29 January 2024 at 1:30pm.

Hr blog

Update from 09 February 2024:

It is with huge relief that we found out the verdict from the President of the Évreux legal tribunal on the same evening as the hearing! On 29 January 2024, Steve Gougeon was also declared guilty of all of the offences cited against him.

The list of convictions is long: A 2 month suspended prison sentence, 5 fines, and, what mattered to us the most, a definitive confiscation of Céleste, Patty, Hannah, and Marli, a ban on practising professional activities with animals for 5 years, as well as the reimbursement of fees given by One Voice to take care of the rescued lionesses, an amount of 193,856 euros!

Unfortunately, the fight is not over: we learnt that Steve Gougeon has just appealed this decision, just after we organised the rescue of eight of “his” zoo animals abandoned in Plateau Picard with authorities.

We are confidently staying on track: the legal system is more and more on animals’ sides.

« We have been waiting for this hearing for almost four years. The shock of this level of cruelty by the circus and cynicism of those who protected it has still not been absorbed. Since, a law against animal abuse has been voted in, supposed to protect animals kept in circuses in particular. Yet, for the lions and tigers, nothing has changed. Words, a law, sales... but in trailers and under big tops, the same unspeakable suffering still exists for these endangered big cats. »
Muriel Arnal, President of One Voice


Professionals in abuse

The Gougeon family stands out for their use of whips from generation to generation. Among its members, poor treatment and negligence are common occurrences. Out of necessity, we are frequently at tribunals to get them convicted for wrongdoings and to save the animals that they keep, who they mate and undoubtedly trade. Last October, we also went to the Grenoble tribunal to put an end to the various sleights of hand at the Nouveau Cirque Triomphe, where the Gougeon cousins are at the helm.

In 2018, during our investigations into the circus, we crossed paths with Jon and his companions Céleste, Patty, Hannah, and Marli, kept within the Cirque de Paris in appalling conditions by Steve and Luciano Gougeon.

Proof of undeniable suffering

During their rescue, ordered by the legal system, almost two years later, our fears were confirmed: the lions were cachectic, their wounds uncared for, their teeth had been broken and their claws torn off.

In June 2020, with Jon’s arrival with our partner Tonga Terre d'Accueil, then the lionesses being rescued on 7 July for acts of abuse (a first in France for circus animals), they were able to offer a peaceful haven where they could regain their strength, thanks to a suitable diet and the care provided. Even if Jon did not have the chance to experience the green meadows of our sanctuary in Tuscany, he was surrounded by love and attention while being able to discover a taste of a life far from the circus for more than a year and a half before he died on 29 January 2022.


The trainer appealed the sentencing

Numerous complaints have also been filed against the boss and trainer from the Cirque de Paris. With the decision on 4 February 2022, Jon and his companions were confiscated from Steve Gougeon and he was banned from carrying out his professional activity for five years. Surprisingly, however, Luciano passed through the net, despite his involvement in lion trafficking. Steve Gougeon opposed this ruling. We will therefore be at the Évreux tribunal on 29 January 2024 at 1:30pm to finally get justice for Jon, Céleste, Patty, Hannah, and Marli.

Translated from the French by Joely Justice

Jeanne Laurin
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 41

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

Patricia | Saturday 17 February 2024

Un grand MERCI à One Voice pour sa défense des animaux sauvages ou domestiques.
A vos côtés nous devons défendre ces animaux et les sortir de cette maltraitance.

Maricia | Friday 16 February 2024

Merci pour tous ces animaux que vous sauvez des griffes de tortionnaires en tout genre.
Honte à ces derniers.
La période pour ne plus détenir des animaux est bien trop courte… dans 5 ans ils recommenceront.
Il faut que ce soit à vie !
Pauvres bêtes, que de souffrances endurées !! Pourquoi ? C’est inadmissible.

Catherine | Friday 16 February 2024

Bravo pour ce que vous faites.
Je continuerai de vous envoyer des dons bien employés.
Encore bravo.

Seolane | Saturday 10 February 2024

Il est profondément rageant que l’Homme pense depuis toujours que l’animal doit lui appartenir et qu’il peut en disposer selon ses plaisirs. C’est épouvantable. L’animal n’a pas cet esprit tordu, et ne fait pas le millième du mal que l’homme lui prodigue.