Animals. New certificate of commitment to adopt an animal: how does it work?

To adopt a cat, a dog, a rabbit or a ferret for the first time, it is now mandatory to have signed a certificate of commitment and knowledge seven days before. The measure entered into force on 1uh October, but the Ministry of Agriculture has not yet provided instructions for its application. On this World Animal Day, which takes place every year on October 4, we take stock of what will change for adopting a little companion.

  • What does this certificate contain?

The Ministry of Agriculture indicates that this document must specify, for each species, the needs of the animal, the identification obligations, and the implications such as cost and logistics. But for the moment, the government has not provided a model for this certificate, indicating only that “an upcoming technical instruction will provide details”.

So in the meantime, shelters or associations must improvise. The National Union of Dog and Cat Professions has made two models available on their site, for cats and dogs. They specify in particular the fines encouraged in the event of abandonment of an animal.

The SPA, for its part, ensures that it will be put online in its version of the certificate on October 10. “We were not able to set it up on the 1uh October”, specifies the president of the SPA Jacques-Charles Fombonne. He deplores the absence of a directive from the ministry: “This is a measure that we have been asking for for years and which is finally coming, and it is backfiring on the associations. »

  • Who must sign it, and when?

The certificate currently concerns the adoption of cats, dogs, ferrets and lagomorphs (rabbits and hares). And from December 31, it will also apply to horses and other equines. According to the SPA website, a person who has adopted an animal does not need to sign it if they have already owned an animal of the same species in the past.

According to the ministry’s website, the person who sells an animal, whether an individual or a professional, must ensure that the purchaser has signed the certificate seven days earlier.

  • What are the risks of not signing it?

The sanctions encouraged for the person who gives the animal and the one who adopts it are not yet known. They must be specified in a future decree. It is also not clear how this signature will be controlled. The veterinarians could check it during the first visit, but just like for the identification of the animal, they can only inform and not impose.

time to reflect

In principle, this is a measure that could prevent too rapid adoptions. “I see this as a chance to take the time to properly explain to people how to take care of the animal”, considers Anne-Claire Gagnon, veterinarian and behaviorist for cats. She explains that it happens that people think they want a cat, and realize while discussing that it is finally rather a dog that they need. Some new owners of an animal also find themselves in difficulty to educate it or provide for its needs.

“I think it’s a good thing in terms of empowerment, to make sure people don’t take it lightly anymore. These seven days of reflection could break the phenomenon of the crush, of the thoughtless adoption”, she hopes, which would contribute to reducing abandonments.

A delay that does not help shelters

But in practice, the seven-day period seems difficult to apply for some professionals, explains Jacques-Charles Fombonne. “Some breeders have litters at assumed birth dates. They make an appointment with future adopters for this date. If they do not remember to sign the certificate, the breeder will be forced to refuse them adoption. If they reject and in the meantime someone has come by and wants the same animal, it will lead to difficult situations. »

Pending directives from the ministry, the SPA has decided to deliver the same training before each adoption as before, which reviews the needs of the animal. Then the person signs the commitment certificate at the same time as the adoption certificate is completed. “We have over 6,000 animals in shelters right now. We cannot afford to refuse adoptions, ”he warns.

And these difficulties will arise in particular this weekend of October 8 and 9, dates of the open doors of the SPA shelters for the adoption of animals abandoned during the summer. Last year, 1400 animals were adopted during these open houses.

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