It is mostly dogs and cats that are left when many people take their annual break but the SPA shelter in Dieppe says that it has even had instances of a cow and a camel being left outside its centre.
Tortoises, gerbils, goats, and birds are also abandoned during the peak summer holiday period. This summer the centre is so full that dogs and cats are having to share their quarters despite the fact it is healthier if they have their own sleeping areas.
The numbers of abandoned pets start to increase in May and the shelters are usually full until September. This is despite abandoning an animal being a criminal act in France with the owner facing a fine of up to â‚¬30,000 and a maximum of a two year jail term.
â€˜Like every year at this time there are many animals that are abandoned by their owners who have gone off on holiday. Our shelter is currently packed. As soon as we re-home an animal another arrives to replace it,â€™ said a spokeswoman.
Concerned neighbours, the police, firemen, they all bring abandoned animals to the shelter. This year people are even leaving pets under the fence when the centre is shut. â€˜People donâ€™t seem to understand that they could take their dog or cat with them on holiday, many people in France do just that,â€™ added the spokeswoman.
Typical is a black and white dog that was brought in recently by the police. A woman saw it roaming on its own for a few days. She fed it because it was hungry and then called the police.
Abandoned dogs and cats are kept for nine days to give their owners time to claim them and after this they are regarded as abandoned and new homes are sought for them.
The shelter is looking for foster families for animals until they are found a permanent home. Dogs currently looking to be re-housed include some of the more expensive and popular breeds such as a Dalmatian, Boxer, Jack Russell, Yorkshire Terrier, a Basset Hound, Labradors and a Rottweiler.
Laurence LÃ©andre of SOS Animaux said it has also seen an explosion in the number of abandoned animals and it too needs more foster families. â€˜It is a good deed to care for a dog or a cat for a short time. They can be observed and then we can find them a home that is suitable to their needs and temperament,â€™ he explained.
â€˜These people that abandon their pets donâ€™t seem to realise that they are living beings, not an object to discard when you go away on holiday,â€™ he added. He also believes that more people are abandoning their pets due to the recession as they are unable to afford to look after them.