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French law: can we keep stray dog I found?

We found a stray dog with no ID chip/tattoo, can we keep it?  I.G.

26 September 2018
By Oliver Rowland

Unfortunately not (or not immediately). It is illegal just to keep it even if the dog has no collar tag, chip or tattoo. Should the owner come to light you could be accused of theft!

You should take the stray dog to the animal pound (fourrière) for your commune or to the local mairie, police station or gendarmerie who will take it there.

The pound is required to try to identify the owner but if they have not been found and have not tried to retrieve the dog within eight days it is considered abandoned and the property of the pound.

After being chipped, the it is then given to an animal charity equipped with shelter facilities – and at that point you could adopt it and become the owner on payment of costs (the SPA charges €250).

Where a dog does have a tattoo or chip number, you can report finding it at the following official site filalapat.fr/trouve-animal.

A tattoo, if there is one, is often on the right ear. As for checking whether the animal has a chip, you can take it to a vet and they will check free of charge. Police stations and animal shelters are also equipped to check.

If you cannot identify the owner you could also put an announcement on the site petalert.fr or join the community for the application Buzz My Pet.

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