A French court sentenced the Dutch breeder and judge Cornelia Keizer to 4 months imprisonment. According to the ruling, Emperor would have been guilty of both breeding wolf dogs without the correct papers,and maltreatment of the dogs. An allegation of fraud with foundation fees was deemed not to be proven and for that reason Keizer was acquitted. Keizer said she will appeal.
The story about the 70-year-old Keizer begins in April of this year when the French SPA, an Animal Welfare Organization, receives an anonymous letter in which the breeder is accused of breeding of wolf dogs in "deplorable" circumstances. Pure wolf dogs like the Saarloos and Czech wolf dogs are allowed in France, other wolf hybrids without clear origin are subjected to special regulations and are not allowed in the absence of papers. Also, Keizer was said to breed and sell the dogs in the name of a foundation. This Foundation called Les Loupes Ravis (The Happy Wolves) is a foundation that, according to its website, is dedicated to rehoming primitive dog breeds that are abandoned or need rehoming due to circumstances. After they have been stabilized and socialized, the Foundation is rehoming these dogs with new families, with the Foundation following up.
Keizer is not unknown in the world of wolf dogs. Since her first Saarloos in 1973, she left her tracks in the world of wolf dogs, even though she has a controversial history. Particularly with the Saarloos wolf dogs, there is a fierce struggle between purists who want to avoid any blend of Saarloos wolfdog blood and on the other side the group of people who want to use crossbreeding to cope with hereditary health problems. More specifically, the breeding policy the Dutch Association of Saarlooswolfhonden is committed says: "The centralized breeding policy is characterized by a joint vision of breeding, in which all members take their responsibility for future-oriented breeding and population management. Together we put ourselves on the line for the greater importance: a healthy, reliable and breed typical Saarlooswolfdog. "The other breed club, the General Association of Friends of Saarlooswolfdogs, has a different view. According to them, there are too many inbreeding problems due to this restrictive measure. "Bitches do not get pregnant, and the mating of males was worrying, fewer puppies were born, the litters became smaller and smaller. Puppies were stillborn." Within the NVSWH, there was no hearing, and so the AVVS was established in 2006. Because Keizer was increasingly criticized by her outcross view in the Netherlands, she had already moved to the French Ardennes to establish her kennel there. She was also taken from the Dutch Judges register and registered in the French register of judges, the Societe Centrale Canine, the French Kennel Club.
This went on for years without problems, and the kennel grew bigger and bigger. Until the anonymous letter arrived this spring. The SPA then stated they found neglected dogs. According to the French press, 83 emaciated dogs were found during the check the SPA executed together with representatives of the French court. Other sources mention 133 dogs kept under terrible conditions, including 60 puppies and young dogs. Iwt was said these weren’t the first complaints since in 2012 and 2015 the situation was brought to the attention of animal welfare organizations and police, but nothing was done tat the time. The French breed association for Dutch dogs supposedly had been informed, but did not take any action. Keizer was also a secretary at that association, and regularly worked as a judge. Although there was a one-year suspension as a judge, Keizer returned to the breed association afterwards.
Indeed, if Dogzine asks about this matter at the French breed association, spokeswoman Annie Pouvesle states that no irregularities have been found, even last April. "Les services vétérinaires de la Préfecture suivait le dossier, en n'ont jamais constaté aucun mauvais traitement sur les chiens." According to Pouvesle, the dogs were not confiscated, but the SPA had allowed Keizer to voluntarily remise the dogs because 90 dogs were too many. The counteraction that had been going on for years would finally have been too much for Keizer. "Elle est l'objet de harcèlement depuis de nombreuses années. Ce sont ces mêmes personnes qui sont à l'origine de la plainte, et quai sur internet de fausses information (nombre de chiens incorrect, faux témoignages, etc.) ", or" She has been harrassed for years. These are the same people who are the source of the complaint, and spread the wrong information on the internet (being an incorrect number of dogs, false testimonies, etc.).
The SPA in St. Omer, the place in question, also states that it is not a confiscation but a voluntary giving away. The dogs were not abused, but mainly malnourished, on the verge of bad treatment. "Ils n'étaient pas frappés ils s'agit surtout de surnombre et de manque de nourriture et soins c'est de la négligence mais ça commencé à être unmeform de maltraitance." Injuries other then regular things also were not present. In the shelter they could re-socialize, and the interest for the dogs turned out to be high. Most of them soon arrived in other homes.
And before the lawsuit, Cornelia Keizer also states that it's especially a witch hunt on her and she has been planning to slim the kennel for a long time. "In view of my age, I started 10 years ago looking for a successor to continue my work. 3 failed attempts (hard work, not a lot of glamour in poop scooping, no financial reward!) urged me to hand over the dogs to the most prominent animal protection agency. There are no confiscated or malnourished dogs . " Both the breed association and other sources report that they have been regularly with volunteers at Keizer to help, and also to neuter the dogs.
It is a fact that, thanks to Keizer’s efforts, there are still enough dogs, also in the Netherlands. A source reports to Dogzine: "Apart from this she has sold hundreds of Saarlooswolfhonden in the Netherlands between 1995 to 2008. Without her there would not have been a Saarlooswolfdog population outside the NVSWH." Keizer herself says: "I will be 70 this year and have spent all of my time on my dogs and the cynology in general for 44 years now: directorships in regional dog clubs, co-founder and years of chairman of the Association for Czechoslovak Wolfdogs, board member of several French breed clubs (BHCF, now ABNF) and the club français du chien de montagne de l'Atlas) "The French kennel club, the SCC, states they have no file on this case and have no further information on this matter.
Keizer still had nine dogs, although she states the number is seven. Maybe one more litter in the future, but there is no rush: "Well-deserved rest and travel have my priority!"
Also, Keizer wishes to remain a judge. "The groups I judge (groups 1,2 and 5) give me the opportunity to stay in touch with my favorite breeds and I hope to keep doing until at an even higher age!"
Despite all this, Keizer’s role fort he breed remains of major importance. Thanks to her, although maybe not always fully monitored, there always was a relatively stable number of SWHs, also in the Netherlands. However, the NVVS sees those dogs most preferably removed from the studbook. Even though there are hardly any animals born in the last few years, according to the NVVS breeding records, as opponents report. The NVVS itself reports "There is no big breeding within the NVSWH."
When the appeal is, is still unknown.
On Sunday, 11th December 2016 Henny van den Berg, judge and breeder to the core, has died. An enormous loss for the dog world.
A French court sentenced the Dutch breeder and judge Cornelia Keizer to 4 months imprisonment.