Chanel accused of animal cruelty after dogs left in 'tiny cages' overnight

The fashion label has said the animals were there for security purposes

Olivia Petter
Tuesday 19 February 2019 11:02
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Chanel accused of animal cruelty after dogs left in 'tiny shop cages' overnight

Chanel has been accused of animal cruelty after a reality TV star posted footage on social media showing two dogs locked in cages in the brand’s Sloane Street, London shop on Friday night.

Former Made in Chelsea cast member Tabitha Willett, 27, posted the short clip to her Instagram story, writing: “@chanelofficial Sloane street why are there two dogs in tiny cages in your shop at 11pm?”

In a subsequent story, Willett explained she had spoken with a representative from the luxury French fashion house, who told her the dogs were kept in the store overnight for security purposes.

"I phoned Chanel up who said the dogs were there for security purposes which I don’t understand as they are locked in crates and the crates are far too small for their size,” she wrote.

Willett added that she couldn't see any food or water nearby for the animals.

"I was assured that the animals were only kept in crates for a few hours at a time (still too long I think under these fluorescent lights too) and there was a human man there as well," she added.

Chanel has since issued a statement in response to Willett’s complaint, explaining that the animals in question were kept in the store for security reasons but that they understand the concern for their wellbeing.

“Due to two recent serious incidents in the Sloane Street boutique, Chanel has decided to reinforce the security measures by seeking the services of a dog handler,” it reads.

“We understand the concern of those who care about animal welfare and we share it : we want to assure them that these two dogs, which are specially trained for this purpose, are released from their crates on a regular-basis to stretch and exercise and there is a regular supply of food and water throughout the duration of their time in the boutique.”

Speaking to The Independent, Willett explains she was "deeply saddened" and "extremely surprised" by what she saw.

"You should never see animals caged and restricted for their size with no water or room to sit, stand or stretch out, let alone late at night, under fluorescent lighting, on Sloane Street in a Chanel window.

"I was further appalled when told that the circumstances were for security purposes as the caged animals clearly would have been unable to protect the store."

After seeing the animals, Willett contacted the RSPCA - the UK's leading animal welfare charity - who concurred that the footage suggested the animals had been poorly treated.

“This picture raises some questions and we would be keen to hear the reasons behind these dogs being kept in crates in this way,” a spokesperson for the organisation said.

“Dog crates can be useful when transporting your pets, for use in training, or for short-term confinement when supervision is not possible. They should be a place where the dog feels safe, secure and comfortable.”

A minimum requirement for animal crates is that they are big enough for the dog to be able to sit and stand up at full height, turn around, stretch out and lie down in a natural position, according to the charity.

The RSPCA also pointed out that dogs also need access to water at all times, so a bowl should be provided when one is inside a crate.

More information about how dog crates should be used can be found on the RSPCA website here.

If anyone has any concerns the welfare of these dogs or any other animal, you can contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.

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