Law to fight against animal abuse: why the icaunaises associations are in dire straits

“I can no longer have cats adopted. I still have five kittens currently. What do I do with them, put them back on the street? It’s nonsense. If this continues, all the associations will close.”

Isabelle Dimitroff, head of the Trois P’tits Chats association in Avallon, is not losing her temper. Since October 1, 2022, following the entry into force of the law of November 30, 2021 aimed at combating animal abuse, his association, like many in Yonne, has been forced to decide between working illegally or partially cease its activity. At issue: a measure making it compulsory for all first-time buyers of pets

the signing of a “certificate of commitment and knowledge” at least seven days before any adoption.

“Our associations are not rich”

However, this document, supposed to prevent impulsive adoptions and therefore the abandonment of animals, can only be issued by a holder of Acaced, the certificate for pets of domestic species. And that’s the rub. “Until then, the only people obliged to have the Acaced were the shelters or the breedings, the pet shops, the veterinarians, the employees of the pound, supports Patrick Sacco, of the association Respectons. No association has it. ” Especially since this 48-hour training costs between 300 and 400 € depending on whether it concerns cats, dogs, or both. “Our associations are not rich. Me, I have no money for this training”, storm Christine Poulin, of Lady and Company. “We do not have the 300 € to pass the Acaced, and even if we have them, it is clearly not our priority”, also protests Aurore Picaut, from La Chatt’Hery de Léo, recently affected by an epidemic of typhus and stressing that he had “still €3,000 in veterinary costs to pay”.

I’ll go to jail if I have to, but I won’t stop saving cats.

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Discontent therefore rises among animal protection volunteers in Yonne. On social networks, several associations have even created a discussion group, to organize themselves. “On the ground, it’s a monstrous mess. No one has the same story. Me, for the moment, I continue to act exactly as before”, reports Marie-Laure Codran, of the association Des four-legged hearts. And many make the same choice. “I will go to prison if necessary but I will not stop saving cats”, even affirms Isabelle Dimitroff. “Everyone is angry. What is the purpose of this law? Agree that we legislate against animal abuse, but this is totally counterproductive. The associations do a huge job. they close, the consequences would be dramatic”, protests Christine Poulin.

Ignorance of the work of associations

Volunteers, often committed to animal welfare for a long time, denounce a lack of knowledge of their work. “When we have an animal adopted, we already have the adopter sign a contract. The cat or dog must leave vaccinated, identified, and with a mandatory deposit check to ensure sterilization,” explains Marie-Laure Codran. “Not a kitten leaves the association without being identified, vaccinated, and under commitment for its sterilization. Everything is checked, we have a partnership with a veterinary clinic”, also confirms Christine Poulin. “We already have contracts and a follow-up, summarizes Isabelle Dimitroff. Today, we are required to undergo training, but personally I have been in the field for twenty-three years, I think I know cats well. “

This law has the opposite effect of that desired. With all these constraints, people will turn even more to adoptions from individuals.

While it aims to more strictly regulate the disposal of pets, “this law has the opposite effect of that desired” according to the associations. “With all these constraints, people will turn even more to adoptions from individuals, on online sales sites for example, where nothing is supervised. Nobody has the means to control that. there’s a lot of media hype about advances in animal welfare, but on the ground, we really don’t see it.This new law increases the ceilings of criminal penalties for mistreatment, but these penalties are very rarely applied, it is useless”, denounces Patrick Sacco, of Respectons.

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That there are checks, yes, but that does not penalize the small associations which work well.

Another fear of associations: the loss of their host families. “The risk is that they take fright and stop everything”, fears Marie-Laure Codran. The obligation, also, to leave the animals in the pound for eight days before adoption, leaves the associations perplexed. “Nobody does it. In Yonne, there are only two pounds, they would be unable to manage such an influx, to treat, to bottle, as we do”, estimates Christine Poulin, who even fears that this or “a way of regulating through euthanasia”.

A meeting scheduled for December

What the direction of the veterinary services of Yonne formally denies. “We are well aware of the difficulties of the associations and the tense climate, assures an employee. We will allow time for everyone to adapt. We are here to support and help get it right.” Regarding Acaced, “funding aid is possible via the training account or Pôle Emploi”.

An information meeting is scheduled for December 5th. “We hope that will calm things down.” “Between associations, we are talking about the possibility of organizing a demonstration, alerting the deputies, the prefect. But we will wait for this meeting, speak there with one voice to try to find compromises and propose alternatives. there are controls, yes, but that does not penalize the small associations which work well”, wishes Aurore Picaut.

This concerns cats, dogs, rabbits and hares, ferrets, and from December, horses.

Article 1 of the law of November 30, 2021 aimed at combating animal abuse and strengthening the link between animals and humans provides that “any person transferring a pet for payment or free of charge ensures” that the purchaser signs a “certificate of commitment and knowledge of the specific needs of the species”. “The transfer of the animal cannot take place less than seven days after the issue of the certificate.” Set up by the implementing decree of July 18, 2022, this certificate aims to fight against abandonment and compulsive purchases by empowering people wishing to welcome an animal. Any first-time holder is thus concerned. The certificate must be issued by a veterinarian or a person holding the Acaced (certificate of knowledge for pets of domestic species) or the old CCAD (certificate of knowledge of domestic animals). Chapter II of the law toughens the penalties for mistreatment, up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 euros in the event of the animal’s death. The law also provides for the end of the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores, which will be prohibited from 2024. In principle, it will also be prohibited to sell pets on the internet, except for breeders. Platforms that do not implement a prior control system may be fined 7,500 euros. It should also be noted that the law anticipates the gradual end of wild animals in traveling circuses, the keeping of which will be totally prohibited within seven years.

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