Abandonment of dogs on the rise at the Relais des Animaux (52)

At the Relais des Animaux shelter in Valdelancourt, the abandonment of dogs has been intensifying for several weeks now. As summer approaches, owners find all the excuses in the world to leave their dog up for adoption when the time is not right.

The holidays have already been there since mid-June at the Relais des Animaux refuge in Valdelancourt. “We’ve been feeling it for at least three weeks,” says Jennifer Simon, assistant manager. Indeed, the abandonment of animals, mainly dogs, are becoming more and more numerous. At the moment, the staff of the center registers about three per week, always by appointment.

Pet owners leave pets without scruple and with many excuses. “We really have everything: a separation, a child who becomes allergic, a dog that we no longer support even though he has been with them for 10 years…” Each time, everything is done mechanically and without emotion. “Not a look, not a tear”, people go through this step like any administrative formality.

Wild abandonments still exist but are rarer. Now, dog owners are received at the shelter, by appointment.
Illustrative photo.

So, to manage this moment as well as possible, the staff (only female) of the Relay, sensitive to the pain of the animals, decided to be two for each abandonment. As they are only done by appointment, they can plan ahead. “One of us takes care of the administrative part with the owners and the second takes the dog aside” She pets him, gives him a treat and takes care of him so that he is less aware of his abandonment. ”

No brakes on giving up

The owners don’t seem to be held back by anything. In animal shelters we find rather, and traditionally, crossbred dogs. In recent years, abandonments have increasingly concerned purebred canines. Shepherds, Beagles… “We have already had dogs worth around 1,500 euros at the start!”, explains Jennifer Simon. Even the price does not prevent owners from leaving their animal at the shelter, especially since abandonment is not free either. The establishment asks for a fixed sum for each abandonment, whatever the animal.

At the moment, there are so many arrivals that there are only three free boxes left at the Relais. 45 dogs are already there and the number should not go down anytime soon. “The period is not conducive to adoptions. People go on vacation so, logically, they don’t take on a new animal first.” There will be a little during the summer but not in a noticeable way. They should resume in the fall. Jennifer Simon knows it: the dogs who return to the shelter now risk staying there for a while.

Laura Spaeter

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90 cats at the shelter

As for cats, the Relais des Animaux is not left out either. People pay more and more attention to births and bring kittens to the shelter, sometimes with, sometimes without the mother. “It’s best that she’s with us so we can sterilize her and put her up for adoption too.” In addition, the shelter can only take single kittens if they are weaned, at least eight weeks old.

“Before, we weren’t equipped to deal with it. They should be given the bottle every two to three hours. It’s impossible here.” In addition, Jennifer Simon noticed that there was no longer too much season for the birth of kittens. The females no longer necessarily give birth in the spring but all year round. For the moment, already 90 cats and kittens are present at the shelter, even if they are not all adoptable yet.

More Responsible Adopters

A few weeks ago, the Animal Relay changed its adoption protocol for dogs. The staff realized the lies of the adopters. “They told us, for example, that they had a large plot of land when none at all,” recalls Jennifer Simon. Result: today, the shelter imposes a delay between the moment when a person spots a dog and when he adopts it definitively, in general about fifteen days.

And above all: it is the staff who bring the dog to its new home and the adoption papers are signed on the spot if all goes well. By acting in this way, and by explaining it to future adopters beforehand, the latter take this approach much more seriously. They are more responsible, do not invent anything about their way of life to have a dog and, finally, keep the dog permanently. “In two months of the new protocol, no animal has been brought back to the shelter when we had more returns before,” note the officials.

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