What to do if you find a lost or abandoned dog
We are often contacted by people who have found a lost or abandoned dog and who need advice as to what they need to do.
All dogs in France should be chipped by law. If you contact your local vet or animal refuge, they will be able to check whether the animal has a microchip or tattoo and if so they should be able to identify the owner of the animal from the official records. If the dog can be identified, they should then contact the owner. It is often the case, however, that abandoned dogs are not chipped. In these cases, and if you wish to keep the animal yourself, you at can arrange to have it chipped by the vet and you will receive in due course an identification document from the French dog registration authority ICAD, confirming that you are the legal owner.
In cases where the finder does not want to keep the dog, they should contact their local Mairie which in turn should contact the local dog warden service for your area (the Chenil Service) which will take charge of the animal and take it to the local Pound. The Chenil Service will try to contact the owner of the dog when it is identified by a chip or tattoo. In other cases, the dog will be inspected by a vet and where it deemed to be re-homable, it may be passed on to a local refuge. Unfortunately, it is sometimes the case that where the dog is old or in poor health, it may be kept for only a short period of time before being euthenased.
Liberte Pour Chiens is not a refuge, but you can contact a refuge direct. Normally the refuge requires an “abandonment” fee, generally 170 euros (which is probably one reason why so many dogs are simply left abandoned in the countryside). However, you should check whether the refuge euthenases dogs when they are considered to be difficult to re-home, or they have more dogs than their certificate of capacity permits. The Refuge du Penthievre et du Mene at Brehand does not euthenase.
You can find a list of refuges near you at the website of the Confederation of SPAs in France www.cnspa.fr
You can find more information on all of the above via the website of the Phoenix Association – www.phoenixasso.com The Phoenix Association is a registered French charity which exists with the sole aim of dealing with the sad plight of ever-increasing number of animals in need in and around the Dordogne.
Ill-treatment and neglect of Dogs
In January 2015, French law (Penal Codes R654-1 and 521-1) was changed to recognise that animals should be treated as sentient beings, so that animals can no longer be regarded as “furniture” or treated as personal possessions.
Under the new law, dogs must have five basic rights –
- To be given food and water daily;
- To be given warmth and shelter from the elements;
- To receive medical attention from a vet when required;
- To be allowed freedom to express their natural behaviours;
- Not to be chained for 24 hours a day but given regular periods of exercise.
Failure to comply with the above requirements can carry penalties on the owner of substantial fines or imprisonement.