The President of Pawsitive SXM pursued in court

She’s particularly accused of having carried out work on land at le Galion, which does not belong to her.

Her dog shelter activity was compliant with regulations until it moved from rue de Hollande on the AW 39 parcel to le Galion on July 1, 2014, here’s what the Saint-Martin criminal court was able to note after having heard the President of the Association Pawsitive SXM, L. Morel, on Thursday morning. After that date, things got complicated for various reasons, especially for communication issues and the interpretation of events.

Basically, the President of the association is accused of having carried out work on a parcel of land that is classified as a natural area and for which she had not signed any occupation agreement with the Saint-Martin Natural Reserve in charge of the management of the aforementioned parcel of land. She received a notice ordering her to stop the work and she was not compliant. That makes two Environmental Code violations. Furthermore, she’s accused of not having declared her shelter business, which is a third offense, this time in the Rural Code.


In the courtroom, L. Morel explained that in 2014, Pierre Beauperthuy - who has since past away - suggested that she move to the former premises that the humane society (SPA) had formerly occupied, on one of his parcels of land at le Galion, in this case the AW 39 parcel. She has a letter from him that proves it. She later argued that she had filed for an AOT (temporary occupation permit) and that her request is pending and that the building belongs to the Collectivité.

But this land is the property of the State (the French Coastal Protection agency or the Conservatoire du Littoral) and its management was entrusted to the natural reserve when it was created claims the civil party. "She can’t file for a temporary occupation permit at the Collectivité for a parcel of land which is out of the jurisdiction of the Collectivité", explained the director of the reserve, who was called to the stand by the prosecution.

On the basis of the decree of September 3, 1998 signed by “by no less” than the Prime Minister stipulating that the AW 39 parcel falls within the jurisdiction of the Conservatoire du Littoral and is managed by the reserve, the Deputy Prosecutor Michaël Ohayon considers that the fact of having carried out work on this land as well as not having stopped the work despite the notice received are perfectly characterized.


Although for the shelter which was located on rue de Hollande, L. Morel had declared her business with the services of the prefecture as requested by the law, she supposedly didn’t do it when she arrived at le Galion. "There seems to be some kind of mix-up", said the Deputy Prosecutor who has found only an ICPE (Installation Classified for the Protection of the Environment) declaration. At that time, the premises at le Galion were therefore not declared at the prefecture in accordance with the Rural Code, as indicated by a letter from the prefect and in the prosecutor’s possession.


The President of the Association Pawsitive SXM is also accused of having refused an inspection from an agent of the veterinary services. Upon his arrival, she supposedly asked him for the reason of the inspection and forbade him to enter her home. He apparently didn’t indicate the reason on account that he couldn’t. The Deputy Prosecutor assumes that "a dialogue of the deaf" certainly followed, which all of the same lasted for three-quarters of an hour and at the end of which the said officer concluded that she had refused the inspection.

"I don’t doubt the sincerity of Ms. Morel in her commitment, her struggle and her investment to defend animals, but things have to be done by the rules," said Michaël Ohayon who has suggested a suspended prison sentence as a warning, a fine for 750 euros and the obligation to restore the premises within six months as the main sentence.

L. Morel defended herself by claiming that she had authorizations from the Prefect of the Region and the DAF (Directorate for Food, Agriculture and Forests) of Guadeloupe. Before the judge, she insisted on the fact that the director of the Saint-Martin veterinary services did not answer her letters and her requests. She even accused him of  “having concealed documents".

The judgment was adjourned until September 22.


Estelle Gasnet