The emotional footage was published to Facebook on Sept. 19 by Nghi Le Duc, showing a pair of individuals reported to be associated with animal rights group Cause Animale Nord, forcibly taking away a small dog away from a homeless man near a busy street in central Paris. The man begins to wail as the dog is then handed off to another animal activist, who runs from the scene.
#causeanimalenord seriously repulsive. How could you do that to the poor homeless man? The puppy is all he has.— Angela Kou (@angee41890) September 28, 2015
#causeanimalenord I want to report animal cruelty. A group of thugs assaulted a man and stole a puppy away from its rightful, loving owner!— G (@Calliope16G) September 24, 2015
#causeanimalenord you are not animal activist but simply plain bullies! Give the puppy back to the poor man what you did was awful— Chiara C (@Jammin_) September 27, 2015
Animal rights blog The Dodo identifies the male in the white hat, seen snatching the dog away from the homeless man, as Cause Animale Nord's president.
A Change.org petition accuses the activists of using "extreme violence" and illegally seizing the animal, calling for an investigation into Cause Animale Nord's tactics and demanding the animal to be returned to its owner. The petition has been signed by more than 220,000 users.
Cause Animale Nord made a Facebook statement in French, which according to The Telegraph translates to: "We intervened because it was an urgent situation for the animal. There was no violence at any moment."
"The person had thrown himself to the ground, crushing the puppy. The puppy was stunned, had dilated pupils and was staggering around."
In the Facebook statement, the group went on to accuse the homeless man of using the animal for begging, saying "The police don't do anything, we act."
The Telegraph reported that Cause Animale Nord had advertised the puppy for adoption on Facebook, asking for 175 euros (approximately $196), though has since taken down the post.