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Tragic rise in pet abandonments

More pet owners than ever are rejecting their animals say animal charities

IT HAS been a "catastrophic summer" for abandoned animals, says TV channel TF1.

The number of abandoned pets has never been so high: up 25% on last year. Animal shelters are overwhelmed and associations defending animals say they are very concerned.

In charge of the SPA refuge at Vaux-le-Pénil (Seine-et-Marne) Michèle Boulet told TF1 there was a marked rise at the start of the holiday period: they had about 20 animals a week before the summer, which then rose to 30.

They included a puppy that was thrown into the refuge over the two-and-a-half metre fence, she said. Ms Boulet added usually people invented excuses but this year several just said "we're going on holiday and don't know what to do with the pet, so we don't want it anymore."

However 95% of animals are brought to the refuge by the local pound, said TF1. Some of the animals have been mutilated, such as having ears torn off so a tattoo showing ownership is no longer visible. Refuges across France are full and only an increase in adoptions will avoid many being put down.

The Fondation Brigitte Bardot has been campaigning against abandonments, saying that they had been slightly decreasing for three decades, but had shot up again in the last two years.

They say about 100,000 pets are abandoned annually in France, of which about 60,000 in the summer, figures which make France Europe's "animal abandonment champion."

According to the foundation "Too few people know what abandonment means for a dog or cat - death, and often in monstrous conditions." They end up dying of cold or hunger, being hit by cars or put down if they go to a refuge but do not find families, says the charity.

Photo: © Eric Isselée - Fotolia.com

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