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Is it legal for neighbour to keep 16 dogs in French garden?

One reader's question, answered. Find more practical Q&As in the Connexion monthly print issues.

17 August 2020
A group of dogs sit in front of a pink wall.Reader question: is it legal for neighbour to keep 16 hunting dogs in garden?
By Liv Rowland

Question

Our neighbour keeps 16 hunting dogs in his garden as pets and they howl and bark at any time of night or day, plus the smell is unpleasant. They are kept in an area that is two metres from our boundary and 50m from the local church. Surely there is some law that restricts the keeping of so many dogs in such a confined space (approximately 50m²) and in filthy conditions? S.C.

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Answer

There are laws against mistreatment of animals. More precisely, there is a general law against members of the public keeping more than nine dogs, unless the animals are kept under the strict conditions required for a professional dog-breeding business.

This involves conforming to certain rules on protection of the environment for “classified installations”. Among these conditions are that the installation should be at least 100m away from people’s homes. The rules on this can be found in the Code rural et de la pêche maritime (tinyurl.com/yco642hv) in a 2015 decree related to protection of pets (tinyurl.com/ya5famu4) and in environmental protection regulations (tinyurl.com/ycfbhlso).

If you believe your neighbour is breaking the law, you could report this to the police or gendarmerie (eg. by calling 17 or 112). Or you could tell one of the main animal protection charities which investigate cases of animal mistreatment, such as 30 Millions d’amis (telephone 01 56 59 04 44).

Another option is the Société Protectrice des Animaux (SPA), which has a form for reporting – la-spa.fr/signaler-une-maltraitance – or you could notify your nearest SPA refuge.

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