No permit, no pets in Wallonia

Buyers must now show that they are not subject to a ban on keeping an animal. The measure also concerns buyers residing abroad. Explanations.

Since July 1

Mélodie MOUZON

Buyers must now show that they are not subject to a ban on keeping an animal. The measure also concerns buyers residing abroad. Explanations.

To acquire an animal in Wallonia, you must now show your credentials. Since July 1, anyone wishing to buy or adopt a new companion must present a detention permitcertifying that she is not prohibited from keeping an animal in her home.

Lokales,, Tierheim Gasperich, Hunde, Katzen, Déierenasil Gaasperech, Foto: Anouk Antony/Luxemburger Wort

To the unfortunately traditional influx of residents during the summer period is added the abandonment of post-covid animals, which push the shelters to set up long waiting lists.

Until now, everyone tacitly had this permit. It could be removed in case of mistreatment of an animal. Since the beginning of July, therefore, businesses, shelters and farms have been required to request a detention permit, in other words an “extract from the central file of environmental crime and animal welfare”, from anyone who wishes to acquire an animal. . This precious sesame is provided by the municipal administrations, which are responsible for verifying that the applicant is not subject to a detention ban.

Discourage impulse purchases

The objective of this new regulation is twofold: to dissuade impulse purchases which very often lead to abandonment and to better fight against repeat offenders of animal abuse.

But this new document does not only concern Walloons. People residing abroad must also present this famous permit if they wish to buy or adopt an animal in the Walloon Region. Luxembourg or French residents, for example, must therefore also comply with these new regulations. However, the procedure is slightly different.

Let’s imagine: you live in Luxembourg and you fell in love with a dog at the SRPA in Arlon. Before you can bring it home, you must contact the Service Public de Wallonie by email or post to receive the detention permit. The request must contain the applicant’s surname and first name, national register number and home address. The extract will then be issued within a maximum period of two weeks.

Once these steps have been completed, the permit will be valid. for a period of 30 days. All pets are concerned by this famous document. Cats and dogs of course, but also horses (for recreation), birds, rabbits, hamsters and other rodents, turtles, NACs and even… goldfish. However, the measure does not apply to farm animals such as sheep, cows, etc.

Like its neighboring countries, Luxembourg suffers from a shortage of veterinarians. The profession is no longer attractive and it is even becoming difficult to provide childcare services at night and on weekends.

Note, however, that you do not need to get a license for the animals you already own. Ditto if the sale took place before July 1st. A three-month adaptation period is also planned. “During this period, if a person presents himself without a permit, he will still be able to acquire the animal but he will have to provide the permit by October 1 at the latest”, specifies the Public Service of Wallonia on its site.

A “certificate of knowledge” in France

Will the initiative inspire neighboring countries? In France, a “certificate of knowledge” will soon be required for the acquisition of an animal. Created by the law of November 30, 2021, this system aims to avoid compulsive purchases responsible for many abandonments. It will be issued from October 1, 2022.

By signing this certificate of commitment and knowledge, the new purchaser will expressly undertake to respect the needs of the animal. Defenders of the animal cause, however, want to go even further and demand that a detention permit be introduced, as in Wallonia. A petition on this subject has just been launched by the 30 Million Friends Foundation.

Not currently considered in Luxembourg

Has Luxembourg planned for its part to follow in the footsteps of its Walloon neighbor? Not in the near future, anyway. At present, it is “not envisaged to introduce a general permit to acquire a pet”we are told within the Administration of Veterinary Services, in charge of animal welfare.

A Grand-Ducal regulation of November 2018 establishes the lists of animals that it is authorized to keep at home. There is a list of mammals (dogs, cats, sheep, pigs, horses, etc.), another including non-mammals (including various species of aquarium animals) and a third list of authorized animals to be part of a circus show.

On the other hand, “of detention permit are required for all animals not appearing on the three positive lists of animals whose keeping is permitted”, informs the Administration of Veterinary Services.

In Luxembourg, dogs must also be registered with the municipality of residence upon acquisition. This registration is made with the Administration of Veterinary Services for livestock (cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, goats and poultry).

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