Wednesday 16 March 2022 | 13

We have won for the dogs who are victims of mistreatment in clubs!


Mis à jour le 08 June 2022

Last Valentine’s Day, we didn’t have a date with a lover but with several dog trainers (eighteen in total) believing that they had been personally targeted by our investigation against mistreatment suffered by dogs in canine clubs, in particular for bite training. The Grenoble Court was very clear: no one had been named, all faces had been blurred and we had only reported on the practices that we had documented, all while highlighting non-violent practices. A great victory, supported by hundreds of other dog trainers, seven years after our investigators first went to the clubs.

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In March 2016, we published a report entitled “Group abuse sessions — an unpublished investigation of dog training clubs by One Voice”, followed in September 2017 by a new article entitled “Investigation: the violent training of defence dogs.”

First victory in 2020

On 16 March 2018, a dog trainer trade union and thirty-three dog clubs, dog trainers, and dog education and training centres summoned us to the Valence High Court. They insisted that the Association was leading a disparaging campaign on the Internet against dog clubs and trainers, in particular requesting payment of five thousand euros for each of the complainants, so 170,000 euros in total for One Voice! On 14 January 2020, the court dismissed all of their claims and ordered them to pay the Association the sum of 2000 euros.

On appeal, the Court asked the complainants: “But... what are you concerned about exactly?!”

The dog trainer trade union and seventeen other unsuccessful applicants out of the original thirty-four appealed on 8 April 2020 and were then asking us for 91,800 euros. Madness.

The trainers were arguing that accusing a whole sector of professional dog trainers of mistreatment and violence would constitute disparagement which would have the effect of bringing discredit to their entire line of business, and that accusing all clubs and canine professionals of violence against animals would constitute the dissemination of misleading and malicious information. Except...

We defended ourselves, in particular by affirming that we were there to inform the public on a subject of general interest, and that we relied on a sufficient factual basis, in this case: the investigation reports and the reports received. Our work was covered by freedom of expression and our target was solely the practices and methods used. We had also promoted dog-friendly practices, and to top it all off, none of the complainants had been a victim of disparagement...

A decision on 15 March 2022, which confirmed the precedent and increased our costs

The Court delivered a concrete assessment of the incriminated passages to reject the requests of the trainers one by one!

« It appears from reading the report and the article from 20 September 2017, and more specifically the seven passages identified by the petitioners in their conclusions, that the information campaign by the One Voice Association does not aim to discredit the entirety of the dog training profession, but to denounce the training methods that it believes to be violent and to inform the public on the consequences that they may have on the animals[...] »
« The report, which denounces violence “by certain trainers” and by “certain clubs”, reiterates a factual basis supported by videos which is not challenged by the petitioners[...] »
« It responds to the objective of informing the public and not to the desire to cause damage via an on-site investigation, during which things that the Association considered to be acts of mistreatment or even torture were identified in canine clubs: shouting, hitting, and physical and psychological aggression[...] »
« The One Voice Association has not abused their right to freedom of expression. »

The Court had also ordered the trainers to pay 4000 euros to the Association in accordance with their legal fees, to which the costs of 1500 euros for the first-instance lawyer were added.

Translated from the French by Joely Justice

One Voice
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Comments 13

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trochu | Thursday 09 June 2022

SUPER BRAVO ET MERCI à vous One Voice !
Il est à espérer que cela servira de leçon à tous ces clubs et associations honteux, qui changeront leurs méthodes, qui banniront les colliers étrangleurs et adopteront des comportements plus que respectueux et doux envers tous ces chiens. D'ailleurs je ne comprends pas pourquoi les gens se tournent vers de tels endroits pour éduquer leur chien, il suffit pourtant de peu, rien que de la patience, beaucoup d'amour, un grand respect, une grande complicité et confiance et du calme pour éduquer son chien, que font ils s'ils ont des enfants, "les dressent ils aussi", car un chien ne "se dresse pas" mais s'éduque et la différence est là.

K. MILOU | Friday 25 March 2022

Bravo pour votre ténacité, et ce succès éclatant !

amie des animaux | Sunday 20 March 2022

Bravo, Bravo, Bravo et merci pour eux. J'espère qu'il y aura des contrôles pour éviter toute récidive !!!

Stéphane | Sunday 20 March 2022

Bravo One Voice, une belle victoire !! :))