What is the Humane Society (SPA)?

The Society for the Protection of Animals is the first structure for the defense of animals in France and ninth in the world.

Recognized as a public utility by Emperor Napoleon III in 1860, the SPA or Society for the Protection of Animals opened its first refuge in 1903 in Gennevilliers. In France, animals are officially recognized as “sentient beings” by the National Assembly in 1976.

An association to protect all animals

The Society for the Protection of Animals, also called by its acronym SPA, was founded in 1845 in Paris. The initial objective was to fight against the mistreatment inflicted on horses by the coachmen of the capital. It was Doctor Dumont de Monteux, revolted to see a carter whipping a horse to force it to move forward, who started first.

He writes a letter to the prefect of police of Paris, Gabriel Delessert, and publishes it in the press. Dumont de Monteux and two medical colleagues – Parisot de Cassel and Paganel – founded the SPA in 1845. Over the decades, the association has also been responsible for protecting pets.

What are the missions of the SPA?

The SPA was created above all to protect animals. In its statutes, it is said that it must “to improve, by all means in its power, the lot of all animals, wild and domestic”.

This implies different objectives, which could be grouped into six major axes, defined on the association’s website:

  • Pick up abandoned or abused pets
  • Adopt pets
  • Caring for animals
  • Raising awareness about the rights and duties towards animals
  • Fight against abuse: abandonment, trafficking
  • Educate the younger generations to respect animals

The main current battles of the SPA are to ban the sale in pet stores and to restrict online classified ads to professionals only.

How many shelters does the SPA have?

The Humane Society has an extensive network of establishments. In total, it has 63 animal shelters and homes throughout France. In addition to that, it can rely on 12 clinics, 27 animal pounds and 36 youth clubs.

The purpose of shelters is to foster abandoned or mistreated animals and allow them to live a second life by being adopted. The role of the “SPA houses” is identical. On the other hand, dispensaries are used to care for animals whose owners do not have sufficient means.

Pounds are used to house lost or stray animals until they find their way home – or they are sent to shelter after eight days. Youth clubs are especially useful for raising awareness among children and adolescents about the animal cause.

What is a “SPA Companion”?

You may have heard this expression before during a discussion, or the SPA has already encouraged you to become a companion. What does that mean? A SPA companion is the name given to donors who support the association. The donations offered are between 10 and 30€ per month, or the amount can be free.

In exchange for being free, the SPA companion receives the Cause Animale newspaper every quarter as well as a pin symbolizing their commitment. His donations are deductible from income tax.

Where does the funding for the SPA come from?

The SPA has various resources, the majority of which come from the public. In 2021, for example, 83% of total resources (i.e. €67m) came from donations or donations. Among the other means of financing, there is the participation in the costs of adoption or dispensary (a little less than 8M€).

On the expenditure side, three-quarters are guaranteed for social missions (€48.3 million, or 77%). The rest is reserved for fundraising or operating costs. The association offers annual activity reports on its website.

How to adopt an animal at the SPA?

Adoption is a process that commits the person who adopts. It is therefore necessary to think carefully about your project in advance in order to welcome the animal in decent conditions. The SPA offers support in the project of adopting receptive animals through its care, in order to empower future owners.

To start, you must first fill in the information on a personal online space, the “Adoptor Profile”. This space allows you to see the animals, to select ” heart stroke “ and to be informed of new collections of animals.

In order to adopt an animal, the SPA will ask you:

  • An ID
  • Proof of address
  • A proof of income, such as the last payslip (to adopt a dog)
  • A financial contribution.

Then, when you have agreed with the SPA on the adoption, you will have to go to the shelter. This day is important for the animal. It is recommended that all household members attend.

Which animals are collected at the SPA?

The SPA collects and offers all pets for adoption: dogs, cats, horses, but also those called new pets (NAC), i.e. rats , rabbits, hamsters or even ferrets.

What is the SPA’s position on bullfighting and the circus?

Unsurprisingly, the SPA opposes bullfighting and wants its abolition. She has been leading this fight since 1919, notably with numerous demonstrations organized by the president at the time: Camille du Gast. Highlighting the opposition of 75% of French people to this practice (Ifop 2021 study), the SPA denounces a “cruel spectacle” which is not part of the tradition. Since 2017, she has been taking legal action against bullfighters, municipalities that authorize bullfights and organizers.

Regarding the circus, the SPA also opposes it. She asserts that “roaming, confinement, training exclude any possibility for circuses to offer animals a suitable space and living conditions”. While in Europe, several countries prohibit circuses that use animals, France continues to authorize it, by imposing sanitary conditions and respect for animals. However, some municipalities have decided to ban circuses with wild animals: Montreuil, Bagnolet, La Ciotat or Roquebrune-sur-Argens.

What is the salary of a pet keeper?

According to the job specialist site Hello Work, an animal caretaker earns on average between 19,000 and 24,000€ gross per year, or between 1,200 and 1,500€ net per month. The most experienced animal keepers can earn up to €2,000 per month, or even more if they have team leader responsibilities, for example. This is still lower than a veterinarian’s salary.

Attention, these figures presented only an average and do not apply to the Society for the Protection of Animals, which has 710 various employees (reception agents, animal agents, veterinarians, etc.) but also 4,000 volunteers.


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