La SPA (Société Protectrice des Animaux) was created in 1845 by Doctor Etienne Pariset. Touched by the poor treatment of many cart and carriage horses on the streets of Paris, the society was at first devoted to the welfare of horses. It grew quickly, thanks to support from several renowned French ‘intellectuals’ such as Victor Hugo and Guy de Maupassant.
In 1903, the first SPA refuge opened in Gennevilliers, in the suburbs of Paris.
There is now a national network of ‘refuges’, thanks, to the generosity of thousands of volunteers, and animal lovers with big hearts and welcoming homes. There is also a growing number of free animal hospitals, to treat pets whose owners are unable to pay vet’s fees.
The SPA today is not just about sheltering and re-homing the hundreds of thousands of pets abused and abandoned every year.
It is about the fight against cruelty to any animal: seal bashing, bull fighting, dog fighting, the fur trade, the illegal trafficking of rare species…
It is about rescuing animals who need us and prosecuting those who deliberately cause them harm.
Research has shown that pet owners are generally healthier and happier than non-pet owners. They have lower blood pressure and cholesterol, are less likely to become depressed. Pets can lift our spirits and help us relax.
There are many other refuges and shelters around the region, taking in the constant stream of abandoned pets. Do please think hard before you buy from a breeder!