Hamsters, gerbils and other rodents. Small pet abandonment rates have tripled in a year, according to Rennes SPA.

The Breton spa retreats are overcrowded, as they are everywhere in France. Rejection of rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs even tripled in 2021 in Rennes, and dog adoption is in free fall. Given the context, SPA would like to see the sale of small pets banned in pet stores to avoid compulsive shopping. Bad idea for pet stores.

In Brittany in 2021, 8 spa shelters located in Quimpert, Plouinec, Crozon, Vitre, Chateaubourg, Rennes, Redon and Inzinzac-Lochrist took care of 4320 animals. This is 4% more than in 2020. 3878 animals were adopted. Unfortunately, a sad pattern, which is also a consequence of the post-blocking effect. Because what’s new is an explosive increase in the number of abandoned small rodents — hamsters, rabbits and guinea pigs — that has tripled in 2021. In 2020, the Rennes shelter received 23 care requests. In 2021 there were 61. Unheard of!

Little rodents – animal whims to please children

Melissa Laure-Motour, manager of a spa retreat in Rennes

According to Melissa Laure-Motour, manager of the spa retreat in Rennes, “small rodents are capricious animals, to please children. And these new pets (NAC) are especially accessible, inexpensive. And then, they are small, you think that in a cage, they do not take up extra space, so they do not need to be taken for walks, so that it’s easy, except that they, too, may have health problems and need veterinary care.”

Another point of ignorance that Melissa wants to highlight is that “when people buy two hamsters, for example, they forget to check if there is a male and a female, but this is significant because these are animals that reproduce very quickly and therefore quickly, the owners end up with a swarm of babies. And then we also forget that the hamster is a solitary animal.”.

Therefore, the Association for the Protection of Animals is calling for a ban on the sale of NAC in pet stores. The bill at the moment will concern only the ban on the sale of dogs. and cats in pet stores since 2024.

If we feel that the animal will not feel well, we refuse to sell it.

Guillaume Petit, Deputy Director of Maxi Zoo Saint-Grégoire

However, demand is growing from pet stores. The Maxi Zoo Saint-Grégoire, near Rennes, has indeed seen a slight increase in demand for small rodents. But be careful, it’s not a matter of doing anything.

Guillaume Petit, assistant store manager, gives very clear instructions: “If we feel that the animal will not feel well, we refuse to sell it. And it has already happened, unfortunately. even if it is a small white mouse that costs 2 euros, it is still a living being.”

SPA’s call for pet stores to no longer sell these small animals is a false argument, he said, because “If we no longer sell these small animals, it will be between individuals and will be much less controlled”.

For Guillaume Petit, “people should be more responsible, first of all”, he complains.

Another current concern at the Rennes shelter is the condition of the dogs. : “There is a real post-blocking effect that we don’t talk about much, but which is very real. – explains the head of the spa. Many animals saw their owners continuously for 2 months and suddenly returned to work. Some dogs couldn’t handle it and developed behavioral and anxiety disorders.”.

“These are beasts that will howl all day, destroy things indoors, have a phase of uncleanliness. Well, that’s a big reason for refusing at the moment.” she clarifies. Not to mention other consequences of the pandemic – the death of the owner, job loss, relocation, economic difficulties.

Reality that gives way to a new phenomenon : “Since the beginning of 2022, much fewer dogs have been adopted. And at the same time, I have 23 dogs support requests this week and we can’t accommodate them because I already have 80 on the court.”regrets Melissa Laure-Motour.

So, the manager of the shelter, Rennes, drives in the key phrase: “Adoption has to be reflexive because adopting an animal means saving two because it allows us to get a new one.”. Therefore, SPA is looking for responsible followers and always volunteers.

Shelters looking for volunteers but information meetings will not resume until February due to the health situation.

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