To adopt a pet, you now need a “proof of commitment”

Catherine Falls commercial via Getty Images 100,000 pets are abandoned every year.

Catherine Falls commercial via Getty Images

ANIMALS – Buying or donating a pet is now more monitored. Since July 19, a decree has made it mandatory to issue a “certificate of commitment and knowledge” when acquiring a dog, cat or horse.

As a result of the law “aiming to combat animal cruelty and to strengthen the bond between animals and humans”, issued on November 30, 2021, this certificate aims to “raise awareness and empower holders”, in the words of the Ministry of Agriculture, while 100,000 pets are abandoned every year.

To avoid impulsive purchases or adoptions, this certificate must be written by a holder of ACACED – Certificate of Knowledge for Pets of Domestic Species – or one of its equivalents. It must be given to the recipient at least 7 days before the sale of the animal.

Respect the animal’s needs

It is mandatory for “any natural person who acquires an animal for payment or free of charge”, the decree states. In addition to cats and dogs, the pets in question are ferrets and lagomorphs – rabbits, hares and pikas – not intended for human consumption, as well as horses.

“The certificate will specify more information depending on the species: its needs, the obligations in terms of identification and the consequences of keeping an animal”, the ministry clarifies opposite HuffPost, indicating that a “technical instruction” will provide details of its format.

In particular, the document will provide information on the financial costs of the animal in question (food, possible care, care, etc.) and logistics (care in case of absence, space requirements, daily excursions, food, etc.).

A “basic” certificate

For Jean-Charles Fombonne, president of the Society for the Protection of Animals (SPA), this certificate fulfills a “fundamental” need. “We were completely in favor of this certificate,” he confirms HuffPost. People will sign up and commit to caring for their animals in the way that best suits their biological needs.”

This is also an approach that is close to that of SPA refuges and the majority of associations. “When people come to us, they don’t say, ‘I saw Kiki on the spot,’ and we bring Kiki to them and they go with it,” he explains. “The whole family comes, they’re asked about their income, the number of hours, they are present in the home, area of ​​their residence, where they spend their holidays, etc. ”.

A record number of animals in shelters

The president of the SPA still regrets that this decree was not published three weeks earlier. “Looking ahead to the summer, we could have built on that to prepare the ground a little bit,” he points out, and this season is the time of year when there is the most drop-off. “But better late than never!”

After two years of health crisis, this summer is particularly worrying: the SPA hostels have twice as many animals as usual, a figure that has never been reached. “We have a constant number of dogs, but we have many more cats because there has been almost no sterilization due to Covid, says Jean-Charles Fombonne. And our fellow citizens want to get on a plane or a train and go for a walk, so we got quite a few fewer adoptions than usual.”

No sanctions yet

This new certificate will make it possible to remove the idea that it is just a simple transaction. “This formalizes the fact that this donation or sale has been justified and discussed with the future owner.” The only uncertainty, according to him, is that it must be done in a “serious” way.

“If people sign the certificate, like when they are on Google and you are asked to accept something and you click because there are 320 pages of 2 characters to read and nobody ever does”, he compares.

At the moment, there is not yet a penalty and infringement relay. The Ministry of Agriculture clarifies that “another decree to come will specify the sanctions for the transferor who does not verify that the buyer has signed a certificate and for the person who issues a non-compliant certificate.”

However, it is difficult to imagine that this applies to animal donations between individuals. “It would be impossible to trace criminally, and this supervision is especially important when it is professionals who give to non-professionals, believes Jean-Charles Fombonne. And not if your grandfather gives you a cat or a dog.”

Host families

In the case of placing a pet with foster families, the decree specifies the essential information included in the “reception contract” for the cat, dog or hamster, which must be signed by the foster family and any shelter or association using placement.

For Jean-Charles Fombonne, it is also a good thing because it “makes it possible to formalize the fact that many associations that do not have shelters live thanks to families that take in animals while they are waiting for them to be adopted. “

Harsher penalties for abuse or abandonment

The law “aimed at combating animal cruelty and strengthening the bond between animals and humans”, promulgated on November 30, 2021, notably allows for the gradual ban of wild animals in circuses and dolphinariums.

As for pets, the law also puts an end to the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores by 2024, further regulates the sale of animals online and toughens penalties for abuse or abandonment. “We would have liked the sale of animals on the Internet to be totally prohibited”, laments the SPA president, who fears a “shaking effect”.

Other implementing decrees and rulings are expected in the coming months on this law. The entry into force of these various texts will be postponed from October 2022 to July 2023.

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