European Vacationers Abandoning Pets at an Alarming Rate

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Our European and Australian neighbors may scoff at the skimpy two weeks of vacation Americans typically allot themselves yearly; however, the month-long vacations that Europeans enjoy have unintended health consequences for certain members of the family: pets.

According to NPR, over 100,000 pets are abandoned during summer vacation in France alone due to owners being unwilling or unable to take their pets along and find suitable care in their absence. Consequently, shelters see an influx of animals brought in by owners who feel this is more humane than simply releasing them.

Trying to Curb Pets Being Left at the Curb

Claire Brissard who runs a shelter in Chamarande, France said in an interview with NPR, "Too many people think a pet is like a stuffed animal that can be thrown away when they're tired of it." To counteract that mentality, her shelter has started insisting that the owners themselves lock their pets in the shelter cages before they depart to clue them into the fact that it's traumatic for the pet to be left in unfamiliar circumstances.

Ironically, visitors to France are struck by the fact of how pet friendly the country is with nearly half of French households having pets. It's not uncommon for restaurants and pubs to welcome to dogs or have a cat mascot.

Falling on Deaf Ears

Annual public service announcements regarding this summer vacation pet abandonment problem seem to be tuned out or disregarded because of their numbing regularity, having become like a summer reminder to use sunscreen by the skin cancer institute.

While this may seem incomprehensible to Americans, it probably mirrors a similar problem shelters report here. Some owners, when moving, treat animals (especially cats) like unwanted furniture left at the curb. They are left to fend for themselves, and these animals are not prepared for such a drastic lifestyle change.  They often become disoriented, skittish, and may be difficult to adopt with fearful, unsociable behaviors if apprehended by animal control services.

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Photo by Dineshraj Goomany.

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Judy on July 17 at 9:04 AM said:

I feel that it should be a crime to abandon a pet! How can someone be so heartless. To abandon a pet, is to abandon a member of your family. In my opinion, only a horrible,self centered, feeling-less creature would abandon any pet. Its unforgivable. When you bring a pet into your family, it is for life, not just until the thrill is gone. ( and the thrill should never go away either) I know the economy has hurt everyone and I have to try to understand why some think they must give up their pet, yet I NEVER would. But at least surrender to a rescue, a shelter, somewhere other than abandonment. I speak from my experience as a voulenteer for a rescue group as well as having 2 rescue Boxers. 1 was dumped off in the middle of winter to fend for himself. He was so frostbit when he was found, the vet guessed that he had been out in the Minnesota winter cold in the prairie for 5-6 weeks. This poor sweet, gentle, loving boy was so frostbite his entire underside, ears, tail, feet were damaged and also infected with yeast on top of the frostbite. He couldn't walk anymore! Someone found him and took him to the Country Vet. This Angel took him in, and cared for him for 6 weeks until he was OK for adoption. I am so lucky to have found My Boy. He is the most loving, sweetest boy you will ever meet. My other Boxer just got out of a Puppy Mill where he spent the first 3+years of his life as a breeder. He had never been fed out of a bowl, never touched grass, never felt a kind hand of love. This little guy has some issues I am working on. He has found that love is good. He knows I love him and he loves and trust me. I can't even Imagine how anyone can do anything but love them every day! We need to educate these people who are doing this. Thank you! JIK
Cheryl A. Gentz on July 20 at 10:03 PM said:

Dear JIK, you are an Earth Angel ......
What do you think?

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