French union calls for help from pet care companies
A French union representing cat and dog catering companies has asked the government to extend a coronavirus-related subsidy to animal care services, which are not currently eligible because they are not considered part of the tourism sector .
The National Union of Dog and Cat Professions (SNPCC) wrote in a statement: “Since the start of confinement … boarding schools and pet sitters have remained in great difficulty.”
Emma Robertson, who owns Acorn Kennels and Cattery in Normandy, said The connection that the effects of the coronavirus on his business have been “quite catastrophic.”
Ms Robertson, who opened her business in 2005, said until March she was making a profit. But between March and the end of June, its turnover fell by 86% compared to the same period last year.
She predicts that for the months of October, November and December, she will have 88% less turnover.
Her kennel and cattery welcome a mix of British and French clients, but she said this year her UK clients were “basically non-existent”.
“Normally at this time of year I’m full for Christmas because my UK clients all return to the UK to visit their families. I usually have to make a waiting list, ”she said.
“[This year] the British are not leaving. They won’t be coming back to undertake a two-week quarantine, ”she said, referring to UK travel restrictions which mean anyone traveling to the country from France must self-isolate during that time.
She feels that animal care services such as kennels and catteries have been forgotten.
Ms Robertson’s business was eligible for a government grant related to the coronavirus she received between March and the end of June. She said that without it, she didn’t think the business would have survived.
At the end of September, this subsidy program was extended to provide financial support to companies in the tourism sector until the end of the year.
The solidarity fund covers businesses severely affected by the coronavirus such as hotels, restaurants, cafes, sporting events, etc. Companies that meet the criteria can receive up to € 10,000.
Kennels, catteries and other animal care services are not included in this list.
The SNPCC has submitted a request to Alain Griset, Minister in charge of small and medium-sized enterprises, to request that animal care companies be considered as businesses linked to tourism.
The SNPCC said Mr Griset had confirmed it would take action to expand the list.
Ms Robertson was forced to apply for a state-guaranteed loan, which must be repaid after a one-year grace period, to keep her afloat until the end of the year.
“This is what I’m going to have to use to pay my running costs, my bills and to feed myself.
“Since many people have chosen to adopt cats and dogs during the lockdown and will need a place to leave them if they go on vacation, I hope next year things will be. more normal and I will be able to repay the loan I find it incredible that I have to use this loan in order to survive.
Ms Robertson wrote to representatives of her local government about her application for a solidarity grant, but was told that this only applied to businesses related to tourism.
Learn more about the effects of the coronavirus in France:
French lodge owners fear what the future of Covid-19 may hold for them
France faces explosion in kitten population
Why you should consider adopting older dogs