In front of the door, the large sign welcoming visitors has been torn down. Crushed cans and shotgun shells soil the bushes. A large cedar continues to colonize the barriers. Behind, rusty cages. Large blocks of concrete and barbed wire block access to what was once the leisure park of the Quebriac Zoo. A sign with a skull announces the color: “Danger, many dogs, inhabited place.” Hanging from the trees, cameras with motion sensors confirm that the site is under surveillance. At the end of a path is a large house. A real set of zombie movies.
A long time ago, the zoo could have been a happy place. Created in 1986, ideally located 20 minutes from Rennes, on the road to Saint-Malo, it brings 30,000 visitors a year to this village of 1,600 souls. The 30-hectare site is home to 300 animals, including monkeys, zebras and tigers. On the program: mini-safari in the body of water, inflatable castle, museum of wonders … In summer, the children of the leisure walk by the games of water or give food to the goats in the park of the caresses.
From 2004, Zooloisirs lost its luster. Veterinary services prohibit its reopening, citing the state of the facilities and the lack of a certificate of competence from the manager. He will be fined 1,100 euros. It is now forbidden to show wild animals. A tiger trainer offers occasional shows. In vain: the park is only a shadow of itself. Schools no longer sell. As a sign of abandonment of the place, a porcupine fleeing to the village is seen at night.
In April 2006, it is the judicial liquidation. Veterinarians discover animals more or less on their own, which the associations end up evacuating. A dozen lemurs are cared for in a shelter in the Netherlands. Contacted, the ex-manager evokes a “trauma”. “Everyone lied in this case. I wanted to do a nice project and they set me up. My animals have been scattered, murdered. Imagine people coming to your house to pick up your children. That’s what I heard.” .
Left in the fall, the zoo soon attracted only caravans of squatters and rave parties. The ground is vandalized. For about a year, he has been legally occupied again by a Malinois dog breeder. But the problems are not over yet.
He grabs me, puts his gun to my head, shoots me in the air …
Around 2018, the old Zooloisirs reappeared on the maps in spite of him, as a popular place for “urbexers”. These adrenaline junkies are taking pictures of abandoned places … or supposedly. On Youtube, videos showing young urchins trembling in old Zooloisirs moose enclosures have millions of views. The curious herd. To the despair of the new occupants. In early February, Erwan * goes to the former Zoo in a small group, including his 13-year-old son. The forty-year-old describes a gruesome scene.
“When we arrived, we really thought it was an abandoned place. We went through a hole in the fence. After 30, 40 minutes, we see a boy coming out of nowhere. Pretty tall, muscular, looks great. He tells us: “Do you do urbex? Me too! “We’re not suspicious. He’s approaching us. Suddenly he pulls out a gun and yells,” Police! Get down! ” We think it’s a joke. Except he grabs me, puts his gun to my head, shoots me in the air … He puts me in the mud, with my knee on my neck. A second man arrives, shoots us twice. He points at the others, his hands against a wall. I tell them I have a hip disability. I am very painful. Calm things down a bit, they look for us, ask us for identities and threaten to call the gendarmes if we don’t say publicly on Facebook that the zoo is out of bounds. ” Erwan complies, but once out, he will file a complaint with Liffré’s gendarmes. Her cousin, also present, intends to do the same. A preliminary investigation has been opened.
Le Mensuel de Rennes has found several similar testimonies. At the end of January, François * also wanted to teach his daughter and boyfriend, both minors, “the abandoned zoo.” The same misfortune: “Police, down! », Shots, searches …« They made us the ‘good cop and the bad cop’, except that there really wasn’t a ‘good cop’. They ended up freeing us. When they left, one of them told his walkie-talkie that it made no sense to let the dogs go.
Witnesses believe they recognized the site manager and his 21-year-old son in these “cops.” According to our information, they do not belong to the national police. Contacted, the occupants of the venue refute these stagings. “I’m not walking with a gun, I have other things to do! exclaims one of them. “These people are deciding. We never have peace. I made a lot of complaints. I can understand the urbexers, but what they are doing is illegal. It is well marked everywhere that the land is occupied.”
The far west
Urbex-related intrusions are increasingly affecting private property in France. Practitioners themselves are divided, between those who sympathize with the occupants taken to the limit and those who condemn the excesses. But the people of a place must be careful not to make mistakes, warns Jérôme Rey, a security guard at Cesson-Sévigné. “Someone can only be grabbed or handcuffed if that person is able to escape or is in danger, and if the fact that he or she has caused it is punishable by imprisonment.”
This is where it gets complicated: “The law prohibits entry into private property, but does not sanction entry into the countryside as long as there is no damage or theft.” Even owners can be held responsible if the intruder is injured. As for those who would be tempted to act as guards, in the Far West style, Jérôme Rey warns: “Improving the identity of a police officer or gendarme is punishable by three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros. Threatening a gun is a crime, whether true or false, if the person in front of you can’t tell the difference. “
Quebriac City Council confirms that the old park is now occupied and “in full cleaning”. However, no one talks about their future. One thing is certain: he will never be a zoo again.
* Names have been changed.