“It’s a relief for me, for my sheep. I created scenarios for myself, having to keep the animals without my dog. It’s not an animal I keep for fun, it’s a work tool.”
Hugues F., shepherd in Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée, finally breathes. The criminal court in Nice released him on Thursday morning. He was sued for involuntary injuries, with ITT of less than three months.
He owes his presence on the bench to his dog, a 5-year-old Border Collie cross Patou, weighing around fifty kilos. On April 14, the animal, surprised that a little girl threw herself on the neck to hug her, had bitten her in the face by reflex. It was at the Belloire farm. Hikers stop there daily for a break, visit or buy cheese.
“The dog had never done that. He just wanted to push back,” explains Me Julie Brau Vanot, nice lawyer for the shepherd. “If he really wanted to bite, he would have put a lot more force into it.”
Six stitches on one side, four on the other
Rating for the little one: six stitches on one side, four on the other. She had come that day to discover the farm. While she was participating in the milking with her mother, the latter had asked her to go and get a jug for the milk. The little one came out, saw the dog and went to hug him. We know the rest.
The little girl’s wound has not yet healed. Justice awaits the total aftermath to decide on compensation. She has to see a plastic surgeon again for the scar on her cheek and bridge of her nose. The court therefore finally held that the shepherd was not responsible for the accident. However, a civil court hearing must be held. “The dog was insured, there will be no problems compensating the victim”, comments Me Julie Brau Vanot.
Hugues F. had not lived since the accident. “The shepherds are caught in a dilemma, we are asking them for two protection measures for the herds: an electrified fence plus a guard dog. It is an obligation imposed on us, I can’t do anything else. Suddenly more and more breeders have criminal records because of their Dog.”