Vacation pet abandonment: a crisis and its solutions in France and Belgium

Par Pawtounes 4 Min de Lecture


Every summer,pet abandonment during the vacations is a serious problem in France and Belgium. Thousands of animals are left homeless, suffering or even euthanized for lack of space in shelters. This article explores the root causes of this tragic situation and proposes practical solutions.

Alarming statistics on animal abandonment

The figures for euthanasia and pet abandonment during the vacations are striking, and deserve special attention. In France, around 140 dogs and cats are euthanized every day in shelters, while in Belgium, shelters take in over 60,000 animals every year, with a notable peak during the summer period. These statistics underline not only the scale of the problem, but also the urgency of finding lasting solutions.

In Belgium, since the beginning of May 2024, animal welfare has been constitutionally recognized, reflecting a significant evolution in societal sensitivity to animal rights. This legislative breakthrough is a reminder that, while abandonment may seem commonplace, it is far from acceptable or justifiable.

Understanding the reasons for abandonment

  • Logistical and financial constraints: The inability to find pet-friendly accommodation and the high cost of pet care during the vacations are key factors.
  • Disguised abandonments in Belgium: Abandonments are often hidden behind false excuses, making it more difficult to adopt animals in the future.
  • Impact of the pet industry: Overproduction by some breeders and pet shops increases the number of homeless animals.
a dog standing on the side of a road - Dog abandoned on the road while on vacation, car driving away in the background

Strategies to preventpet abandonment during the vacations

  • Promote sterilization and responsible adoption: Encourage sterilization to reduce the number of unwanted animals, and encourage adoption of animals from shelters rather than from pet shops or breeders.
  • Strengthening education and awareness: Run informative campaigns to raise public awareness of the long-term responsibility involved in adopting an animal. Find out why your cat follows you everywhere, another interesting aspect of animal behavior.

Best practices and cross-border collaboration

Vacation planning and childcare alternatives

  • Advance planning: Organizing your vacation around your pet’s needs is crucial. Choose destinations where pets are welcome, to avoid last-minute stress and the risk of abandonment.
  • Looking for pet sitters: If traveling with a pet isn’t possible, look for reliable alternatives well in advance. Soliciting family, friends or trusted neighbors can be an excellent option. Make sure the person is well-informed about the care to be provided and comfortable with your pet.
  • Professional services: If no personal options are available, consider professional pet-sitting services such as boarding kennels or professional petsitters. Platforms such as Animaute in France and Holidog in Belgium offer a wide range of adapted services.

Collaboration between organizations

Collaboration between animal welfare organizations in France and Belgium is essential. Sharing best practices, resources and strategies can help combat the dropout problem more effectively. Cross-border initiatives can also raise awareness on a wider scale and encourage animal welfare-friendly legislation.

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Pet abandonment is a preventable act that requires greater planning and awareness. By adopting proactive measures and supporting animal welfare initiatives, we can reduce theabandonment of animals during the vacations and improve their well-being.

Additional resources for adoption and sterilization

France :

Belgium :

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