05 August 2021 15:22
Here “we recover the animals purchased during the lockdown”Observes Carole Retrou, who manages the Chamarande refuge (in the Essonne region of France), part of the French Society for the Protection of Animals (Spa), a little sadly. The shelter is now very full and the manager explained to AFP that already in May 2021 they had received 23 percent more animals than in 2019, which had already been a record year, and among them the cats have increased by 48. percent.
Seventeen people, including two veterinarians, care for 200 animals, mostly cats and dogs: the dogs sleep in two per cage and the cages are inside fenced areas where they can go out, but the center is now full, Retrou notes, and for the moment it cannot accept others. With a note of disappointment, the manager notes that in the last two years, people have bought pets to have something to do, but now that the holidays resume, it’s up to the shelter to take care of the abandoned ones. In the French parliament, a law has been firm since the beginning of 2021 that should ban the sales of animals online, thus helping adoptions from shelters, and those from breeders.
On July 31, 2021, eight young animals were to arrive from the municipal kennel otherwise destined for euthanasia, and the Spa shelters helped each other to arrange them in adoptive families that the association carefully selects. Puppies find accommodation more easily. Adults, who as soon as they arrive, pass the veterinary visit for possible diseases and for any treatment, they are less sought after. Moreover, in the whole of France between 1 May and 23 July 11,335 abandoned animals were collected by the Spa, more than 7 percent more than in the same period in 2019, and as in other countries, 60 percent of abandoned animals occurred on the highway.
Many families bring adopted dogs back to the shelter because they no longer have the money to keep them
In the United States, Mona will soon have to spend a day or two a week alone at home, waiting for Hannah and Richard to return. Adopted last March, it has never known such long separations. But Hannah Peternell, 26 from Brooklyn, isn’t worried. “It has already happened that she was alone for more than a day. She is probably bored, that’s clear, but she can do it ”. What if her employer forces her to go back to the office five days a week? “I would change my job”, she replies firmly. Dachshund Tinto, a resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, was not adopted during the pandemic. But by now he was used to the fact that there were parents and three children in the apartment seven days a week. “It was Saturday every day,” remembers Rosaria Baldwin, the hostess. So much so that the first weekend in which Tinto found himself with only the two daughters of the family, “he was depressed, unhappy,” she says, sorry. Now that the house is returning to its pre-pandemic silence, Rosaria is about to adopt a second dachshund, “so she’ll have company.”
For others, especially animals that have only experienced the pandemic, the transition isn’t always that easy. Many owners have not given their young dog a training course. “Some people get a puppy and think it will be like their childhood dog, that they will know how to do it,” observes dog trainer Hannah Richter. And a year later, sometimes, “they realize they have problems that become more evident because the animals have grown up, and they are more difficult to educate than a puppy.” But owners also have to do their part, says Richter. “It’s easy enough for me to train a dog,” he said with a smile. “But getting the client to educate him is much more difficult.”
In the shelter on 110th Street in East Harlem, after the wave of adoptions last year, the backlash has arrived. There is much less demand today, says Katy Hansen, head of communication at Animal Care Centers (ACC).
Worse still, many families are bringing their dogs back to the center, not from pandemic fatigue, Ms Hansen assures, but due to insufficient resources after a financially difficult year. “They are really struggling, they have lost their home or they are moving to a place where there is already a pet,” says Hansen, who also points out that New York property owners have a reputation for often being hostile to pets.
To decrease the flow of returns, the organization has put in place initiatives to provide food for owners or pay for veterinary care. The ACC also offers temporary foster homes, “a short-term solution for families going through a crisis,” explains Katy Hansen, with the aim of getting the animal back at a later date. Last year, ACC shelters hosted, on average, only one hundred animals (dogs, cats and rabbits). Today there are five hundred. “People are vaccinated, they are more comfortable, they are excited about going out,” notes Katy Hansen, “now is the perfect time to adopt a dog.”