Animal shelter, utility and operation. How do I find shelters near my home?


It is very useful to understand how an animal shelter works and where these specific reception centers are located, whether private or under SPA, in order to provide them with financial assistance. You may also wish to contact one of them to adopt a dog, a cat, a horse or another animal. It is also essential when, unfortunately, we have decided to abandon our little companion without leaving him on the side of the road.

What is an animal refuge for?

An animal shelter is a structure allowing the unexpected reception of dogs, cats, horses and other domestic animals left behind by their master. They can be lost pets, sick animals, victims of abuse, or that the owners want to abandon for different reasons.

In the event of mistreatment, the animals are entrusted to shelters after being seized by justice. Strayed or abandoned animals are deposited there by a pound or by the people who found them. Some owners themselves accompany their animal to a shelter when they have decided to abandon it.

Each structure can accommodate different animal species or can be specialized in a very specific category such as the species or even old animals for example. An animal shelter should not be confused with:

  • A private boarding company for animals, these being entrusted to it by the owners for a fixed period (professional travel, hospitalization of the master, holidays, etc.). These are generally for-profit companies.
  • A conservation center which is specifically intended to accommodate wild animals,
  • A pound that recovers animals found on the public highway, i.e. stray animals.

Reception facilities for animals

Lost, sick, abandoned or mistreated animals can be entrusted to the SPA or to a private refuge, the details of which are as follows.

The Society for the Protection of Animals (SPA)

The SPA is a non-profit organization which operates thanks to private donations and partial funding granted by the State. It welcomes so many animals that all the SPA structures are overcrowded today. The promiscuity is therefore so severe that it is increasingly difficult for it to accommodate all the animals entrusted to it and the reason is easy to understand: unlike private shelters, the SPA has almost all the animals on its premises.

Everything is done so that each animal can be quickly adopted by new masters, but despite everything, euthanasia is sometimes the only recourse allowing to tend towards a decongestion of the various sites.

At the same time, the SPA has a few dispensaries which exist only thanks to therefore since they receive no aid from the state. There are received financially deprived people – permanently or just occasionally – who wish to have their animal treated or sterilized or vaccinated. The purpose of these dispensaries is to reduce the number of abandonments of domestic animals by the owners who can no longer meet their needs because of their precarious situation.

Private shelters

They are very numerous on our national territory and less overcrowded with animals than the SPA. They mainly have volunteer staff. They very exceptionally receive financial aid from the State. They exist mainly thanks to private funds supplied by benefactors strongly sensitized to the animal cause and who wish to make their contribution to this type of structure.

Animals entrusted to a private refuge are placed temporarily with a family pending their final adoption. But before this can be granted, the procedure is long and complex. Each shelter operates independently, which is why one can encounter big differences between them. Thus, a shelter can give its approval to a host family while another might not have admitted it.

In order to reduce the number of animals in its premises, any refuge offers the public to adopt its small residents under certain conditions. But he is entitled to euthanize them as soon as they are not welcomed into a family after a certain time.

How do the different structures for abandoned or lost animals work?

In most cases, animal shelters benefit from the jurisdiction specific to associations (law of 1901). Their control is under the responsibility of one of the following entities:

  • A local service under the Ministry of Agriculture,
  • The DDSV or Departmental Directorate of Veterinary Services.

A person wishing to abandon their pet must contact the SPA or a private refuge in order to obtain an appointment. Once there, she meets an employee to whom she traces everything concerning the animal in question, such as:

  • His life story,
  • His behavior,
  • His level of sociability,
  • His character,
  • His health.

She must also give the reasons which push her to abandon it. All indications are important, because they will allow the future foster family to know a little more about the animal they have decided to adopt.

A financial contribution can be requested from the owner who entrusts his animal. It is, at least, fixed at 80 €. This very low sum partially covers veterinary costs.

How to find a refuge near your home?

The best is still to consult the Internet to find a SPA center or a private refuge in your geographical area. To do this, you just have to:

  • Or to connect to the official site of the Society for the Protection of Animals, section “Refuges”. Then all you have to do is enter an address or geolocate yourself.
  • Or start an online search for shelters. Seconde Chance, Assistance aux Animaux, Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis, are among the countless animal shelters in France. Each department has several different structures.

It is very important to consult different sites and to know the modalities of abandonment but also of adoption. Thousands of animals are waiting for a loving family capable of providing them with wonderful living conditions.

Whatever the reason for his defection, the owner of a pet has a great interest in entrusting his little companion to a refuge rather than abandoning him in the countryside or on the public highway. On the one hand this attitude is absolutely unspeakable, on the other hand, it is an act of cruelty recognized by law, punishable by imprisonment for two years and a fine of up to 30,000. €.

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