While adoptions of abandoned animals are once again authorized, with a simplified procedure, animal protection associations are divided on what to do, despite the enormous financial difficulties they face.
« The two of us work 18 hours a day to care for 700 animals, most of which are for adoption. » Verena Fiegl is resigned. In charge of the survivors’ farm, the manager of this large area of 29 hectares located in the Lot hosts « animals that other shelters do not take ». Stray dogs from Romania having spent several years on the street, sheep or goats with disabilities, but also wild cats and sixty horses which can no longer be ridden.
>> Coronavirus: find the latest information on the Covid-19 epidemic in our live
Here, as with many other animal welfare associations, the situation has become perilous since the start of the confinement period linked to the coronavirus epidemic.
Our capacity for dogs is 50 animals, but we have exceeded it and the situation is critical today.at franceinfo
500 kilometers away, south of Le Mans (Sarthe), in La petite maison des animaux, we share the same philosophy. The same distress too. In charge of around sixty animals roaming free on one hectare, Bernard and Marie-Christine Bousmaha have followed the recommendations of the government to the letter since the start of the confinement imposed to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic. « No one has returned or left the shelter since, because our priority is the animals », says Bernard Bousmaha. But without any adoption for more than a month, the financial situation of the refuge is today in the red.
« It is the first time that it has been so complicated for us financially. We have not had a single donation of money since the beginning of the year. And we are not the only ones. Too much in debt, an association held by friends has just put the key under the door, and all the animals had to leave in host families « , notes his manager, annoyed.
At the survivors’ farm too, times are tough. Even if the association is subsidized, in particular by the Brigitte Bardot Foundation and the 30 Million Friends Foundation, all food collections have been canceled since mid-March. In great financial difficulty, these independent associations of the national SPA (they would be more than 400 on the whole territory) should be relieved by the recent decision taken by the Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner. Since April 16 and under certain conditions, it is now possible to move to shelters to be able to adopt an animal during general confinement.
But while at the SPA, we are delighted by the influx of adoption requests (more than 7,000 received in three days, for ten times less animals to adopt, according to its president interviewed by franceinfo), the reaction is more mixed in many independent shelters. « We receive around twenty calls a day, and everyone wants a dog. But even if it is urgent to adopt our animals because we are full, we ask people who call us to wait until the end of the confinement »says Verena Fiegl, who easily justifies her decision.
« Our dogs are for the most part very fearful. They are complicated animals which will require a lot of investment, which you will not be able to walk overnight, for example, specifies the manager of La ferme des rescapés. If you want a dog to jog in the evening, it will not be possible right away, you have to be aware of it. «
At The Little Animal House, we are not for resumption of adoptions as long as we are confined. « When we adopt an animal, we have to see where it will live, with which people, and we must be able to do a check after 15 days to make sure everything is going well, explains Bernard Bousmaha. It is imperative that there is physical contact between the animal and the one who adopts it « .
Just as the contact of the skin between humans is important, the animal must feel the person who will adopt it.at franceinfo
An imperative almost impossible to meet since the joint adoption permitted by the government only authorizes the movement of one person to go and recover the animal, previously chosen online, on photos and description. A device that poses a problem for Verena Fiegl. « Even with the best will in the world, some people are perfect for one dog and zero for another. But above all, it sometimes happens that the animal gets along well with the man and not well with his wife, or vice versa, and these situations can subsequently create conflicts in families « , specifies the manager of La ferme des rescapés.
Not to mention that the announcement of this new device has generated dozens of phone calls. In these small, often family-run structures that operate with only a few people, having to respond to requests several dozen times a day can be very restrictive. But for shelters that have chosen to allow these adoptions, this is an essential step in the process.
Since the announcement of the possible resumption of adoptions, Alice Tabut, she does not hide her relief. « We have had many arrivals and no departures since confinement, so necessarily, even if the veterinary services authorize a few animals in addition to what is normally authorized, it becomes very complicated », confides this manager of the association La tribu de Sapeur located in Varaville (Calvados), which is crumbling today under calls.
« We receive 120 phone calls a day, compared to about thirty usually », notes the young woman. Requests that must be treated with the utmost seriousness. « We talk a lot about the expectations of adopters. Obviously, if you are in the studio and you want a big dog, or if you are an 80-year-old lady who wants a puppy, it will be no », comments Alice Tabut. A categorical refusal which sometimes gives rise to misunderstandings, even insults.
People do not necessarily understand that it is not first come, first served.at franceinfo
And if the young woman redoubles her vigilance to make these adoptions possible under the best conditions, she still points to a big problem. In understaffing, veterinarians in his region refuse to stink and vaccinate animals. Acts that are not considered vital emergencies, and yet essential for her to separate from an animal. « Everyone wants to adopt a kitten because it is the period of birth, but this is not possible until the veterinarians do not agree to identify and vaccinate them », comments Alice Tabut spitefully.
At the Refuge de l’Espoir in Pierrelatte (Drôme), we also made the choice to allow these adoptions. A decision mainly motivated by the financial difficulties encountered by the association, although the refuge is not at all saturated. « We favor the well-being of our animals, so we allow adoptions by having ultra selective criteria, reassures Sabrina Degrange, secretary of the association. And finally, this period of confinement will allow new masters to spend time with their new animal. It is even ideal for a cat, since it is usually recommended not to let the animal out for the first three weeks after adoption, so that it gets used to its new environment. «
And if all the shelters are not on the same line about adoptions in confinement, they agree on one thing. Cut off from the public, trainers now have more time to devote themselves to animals. « In the end, it’s better that it is now by appointment, notes Alice Tabut. We no longer have families who come to visit on Sunday afternoon as if we were a zoo. So we ask ourselves the question of continuing to operate like this, after deconfinement « .