‘There is no control’: Sandrine is horrified by the number of animal donations online, are there any rules?

Sandrine pressed our orange alert button to denounce online animal donations, which are even more so in the spring and summer. Every day, this resident of La Bruyère, in the region of Namur, sees new ads on Facebook, while this practice has been banned since 2017.

“I, like every year, challenge the issue of donating cats on social networks. Donating animals is forbidden on Facebook, except on specialized pages. Every day I see animals that I donate: dogs, cats, yard animals, sheep..etc.. Where are the special controls? With these pages.. what can be done to stop these publications?Sandrine writes via the orange button Alert Us. In the midst of the birth of kittens, announcements of donations abound on social networks. But not only this. Chihuahua, ram or dwarf rabbit, Malinois shepherd… A quick look at Sandrine’s Facebook groups is horrifying. “There are also guinea pigs and geese … we even give mice. There really is everything”she is interacting.

Working for more than 20 years in animal protection and volunteering at shelters, she tells us she was horrified by the practice. In addition to being completely illegal and banned since June 2017, Sandrine sees it above all as an open door to animal abuse, especially when we know it from 1Verse July, it will be necessary to submit a holding license to get a pet. “It is clear that people who have fallen short with regard to the detention permit will resort to this type of group to obtain animals … and there, we are open to all violations possible”And the This is confirmed by the resident of La Bruyère in Namur.

When you give an animal on social networks, there is no control behind you

The problem, according to her, is the lack of oversight. “When you introduce an animal on social networks, there is no control behind it. We will not ask for a detention permit, there will be no adoption contract. If the animal is a problem, no shelter has the power to take it back… It is really very dangerous”Continue to the forties. The owner of two American employees, Sandrine takes the example of this breed who absolutely needs rigor and the ability to spend enough time. againstThese are dogs that must be supervised before being placed in the hands of people, especially individuals.as you say. On social networks, people rely on materialism. “Because the dog is beautiful, I will take it.” But this is not a good reaction to its adoption. He’s impulsive, right now…”

For her, it is necessary to match the profile of the adoptee with the profile of the animal. And even more so when it comes to Amstaff. “When you adopt an animal from a shelter, you have advice from an animal handler who will give you the ‘characteristics’ and appearance of the dog, and tell you whether or not it would be a good fit. While online, you will not have the correct information and there will be no safety protection for that animal either. When you want to adopt an animal, you have to know it and it has to match both ways. It has to accept us and we, you have to accept it.”Namuroise adds.


Sandrine and her dog. © RTL INFO

On the Internet you will find an animal without necessarily knowing its past and without knowing if it can match what you are looking for. “There may be some personality traits he won’t get along well with, he may not get along with other dogs, he may not like children… There are a lot of criteria that are taken into consideration when deciding to get an animal”Sandrine insists.

The animal will likely not be healthy either, as when it is adopted from a shelter. “On social networks, we find animals that have not been neutered, that have not been identified … and with ‘primitive influence’ dogs like the American Bully, some people collect them for breeding. Then they sell the puppies in them. The sale, without the need for health checks has been done before So they can have respiratory or hip problems, for example, and this affects puppies when they are being sold at a high price. Control”Our interlocutor regrets.

Spreading awareness of animal donation

It is therefore important for her to educate people about animal donation on the Internet. But Sandrine is not the only one who wants to fight the practice. Shelters and Societies are on the front line in this battle. “The problem with donations is really impunitypoints out Gaëtan Sgualdino, head of SPA at La Louvière. Although it is forbidden, people give up and sell their animals, sometimes breeding quite brutally, thinking that they will not be caught anyway.”

During illegal donations of animals on the Internet, the identity of the animal is rarely updated. Therefore, it becomes impossible for the sanctuary to find the true owners without embarking on an in-depth investigation or research. “We have a 5-year-old dog, named Eros, who arrived at the shelter over a year ago. This poor animal was abandoned and leashed along a canal here in La Louviere.explains the head of the SPA. When we contacted the owner indicated on the chip, he told us he was no longer his dog, and that he had given up. The following told us the same thing and found out that Eros was given 7 times via classified ads on social networks…”


Eros was dropped 7 times. © RTL INFO

Gaitan also tells the story of a young Chihuahua, who was just abandoned on the day of filming. He arrived this morningtell us. Basically, he came from Liege and arrived in La Louviere. People came to drop it saying they found it when in fact it was their dog, they got it online.” They wanted to get rid of him because he had bitten someone in the street. But as the Walloon Minister of Animal Welfare’s office reminds us, “adopteds Or to buy an animal, is to welcome life’s companion. Such work is not done easily, And the many implications must be thought in advance.”

However, even today, a lot of adoptions are made impulsively. “However, adopting an animal really does have responsibilities.”, confirms Nicholas Yerno, a spokesman for the Public Service of Wallonia (SPW). Banning the sale or giving of animals online or via classified ads is, he says, goals in terms of animal welfare. “It is to combat trafficking, to avoid hasty purchase of animals, to regulate adoptions in general, and in turn, to avoid frequent abandonment at the dawn of the summer holidays, which we will continue to see this year.”


This tiny Chihuahua has been abandoned at La Louvière SPA. © RTL INFO

To do this, the Walloon Animal Welfare Minister, Celine Teller “I instruct the administration to pay special attention to this issue, especially at the time of confinement.”His office tells us. A period, true, during which a lot of advertisements, especially for kittens, appeared on social networks. Numerous warnings and criminal statements have already been formulated in this regard. “For example, the Sanctions Official Service condemned a specialized site that posted ads for the sale of animals. An appeal was rejected, and the site was forced to withdraw illegal posts”Minister’s office details.

It is very difficult to control social networks

But controlling this practice on social networks is very difficult, because the identity of the perpetrator is unknown. “Most advertisers use pseudonyms and open a profile only to place ads, which makes them difficult to identify. The administrators of these pages use the same principle, and the animal welfare unit never fails to pass on warning messages to them.”

Depending on the type of offense, fines can range from 50 to 10,000 euros, a SPW spokesperson concludes.

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