In France, 100K Dogs Are Dumped Each Summer

By Michael Leaverton for Dogster Magazine

This could be the worst sentence you’ll read all day: Before they head off on summer vacations, many French people dump their dogs at shelters before they leave. It’s a despicable practice, but before you get outraged, think a moment: How many abandoned dogs do you think there are? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands?Tens of thousands?

How about more than 100,000?Every summer. Now you can get outraged.

AnNPR article reports that the practice of abandoning pets before summer vacations is common across Europe, though France is among the worst offenders, with Italy and Spain close by.

It seems to be part of the culture, despite campaigns by animal rights groups. Every year, the French SPCA runs a program to educate and inform the public through posters and social media. One poster features a dog and the line, “Animals can’t cry, they just suffer in silence. Don’t leave your pet this year.”

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It seems that some people in France — many people in France, actually — just don’t care about dogs. According to Claire Brissard, who runs Society for the Prevention of Cruelty in Chamarande, many people don’t even think they are doing anything wrong.

“So we make them come with us to put the dogs in the cages themselves,” Brissard told NPR. “And when they see the stress of the animal they’re leaving behind, at least they’re not proud of what they’re doing. And we hope that keeps them from doing it again.”

Anne-Claire Chauvancy, of the Foundation for the Assistance of Animals, says that the education campaign has been so widespread that it has lost its impact.

“Everyone knows abandoning your dog is cruel, and he’ll probably starve or get hit by a car,” she told NPR. “This campaign has become almost banal and just seems to mark the beginning of summer.”

Clearly, a new campaign is needed. The idea that more 100,000 dogs are handed off to shelters so their owners canrelax is nearly impossible to for us to understand, especially because France is perceived as a dog-friendly country (at least in the restaurants and cafes). France, with 61 million domestic animals, has the most pet ownership in Europe, and nearly half of all household have a pet, reports NPR.

David Chauvet of Animal Rights, a group that wants sales in retail pet stores halted until the shelters are empty, tries to explain: “The large majority of French are horrified by the thought of abandoning their pet,” he told NPR. “But there are people with no scruples, much like child abusers.”

More than 100,000 dogs, every year. That’s a lot of people with no scruples.

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Annabel H.
Annabel H4 years ago

It is like this in France! those that say it isn't don't know what they are talking about! I live in France, since many years, I speak french, I am very involved in animal welfare and this year was the worst yet for abandons! Of course there are lots of nice french people who look after their pets properly but lots don't, the English included. All the SPA's (refuges) are full to bursting, their are lots of pets being pts because of lack of space. We need more foster homes. But the worst problem of all is un-neutered pets breeding, these are the animals that are given away, sold cheaply, and later find themselves abandoned or killed. Spay and neuter your pets! It's the only solution, and close down all puppy mills and back street breeders and ban puppies from the eastern block countries.

Millie O'Connor
Millie O4 years ago

Oh, I forgot, France isn't the only place that has horrific things happening to animals. It's rampant everywhere, unfortunately. This world is at the cruelest it's ever been. What a tragedy.

Millie O'Connor
Millie O4 years ago

I will never understand how anyone could just dispose of their dog! Never! To me, it's the same as 'disposing' your child. I would lay down my life for my animals. These are ignorant, cruel, heartless a-holes who should NEVER be allowed to have another animal of any kind. They don't have what it takes to be a responsible pet parent. :-(

Patricia G.
Patricia Gal4 years ago

These autrocities are happening everywhere in the World. It's very mindblowing and very very sad. A lot of people diligently always working on these animal issues to protect and save these incidents from happening. The massive cruelty & crimes are becoming "epics" around the World. OUR VOICES need to get louder and bigger to stop these events. Please sign and act whenever its possible....Thanks everyone.

I hope and pray God will help us get control on these situations, even if its one by one. AMEN.

Peta Clarke
Peta Clarke4 years ago

France is not the only place this is happening. People get a puppy which grows into a young dog which just an a pain when it comes to holidays. This is happening a lot in Australia too not only putting the dogs in shelters just dumping anywhere. Other owners a bit more concerned for the animal take them to vets to have them put down. I think we should have background checks for people to buy a pet.

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 4 years ago

I was born in Europe and lived in a couple different countries and witnessed so many animal atrocities but none worse then in Spain. I know Eastern Europe is the worst but i have never been there myself. In Portugal it's pretty much the same thing with thousands of homeless dogs running around in the Algarve...but in Portugal the strays are not only tolerated but looked after by the locals and special canine units that spay neuter and also give them vaccine shots. The strays there are never rounded up and killed or shot on the streets. I wish that other Euro countries could learn from Portugal. Thanks

Pamela W.
Pamela W4 years ago

Sorry Care2 - not at all happy with this article !! Firstly, the Dogster writer took a report originally written by Eleanor Beardley and embellished it with a few changes (e.g. an estimated 100,000 became more than 100,000) and then added some very biased opinions of his own to make things even more anti-France !! This article is NOT accurate and, as such, should not have been presented to your readers in its present form as it encourages rascist opinions ..... unless of course Dogster are going to also do articles on Spain, Italy, RUSSIA (who are currently murdering thousands of strays), ROMANIA (who did the same type of massacres last year) and all the other countries who horribly misuse their animals !! ?? !!
I've lived in France for the past (almost) 30 years and have never personally come across this, which doesn't mean that SOME people don't do it, and cannot believe that it is as widespread as this article would have us believe. Everyone I know either boards-out, gets a neighbour/friend/family member to look after their animal during their absence, gets a "sitter" to move into their home, or just takes the pet with them.
Just for the record BTW people in France do not ALL take their holidays in one month - they usually go away in July OR August (depending on the school holidays in their region) .

Natalie V.
Natalie V4 years ago


Francoise L.
Francoise L4 years ago

It's exactly the same in other countries, I don't know why, each year, we get this same page to accuse France. Before you judge, look at you in priority, the French people also has a heart just like you, think before you judge !