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The rules covering pets in buildings

Connexion edition: February 2007

The law in France, based on a decision by the Council of State, says that everyone has the right to keep a pet.
According to the Société Protectrice des Animaux (SPA) - the equivalent of the RSPCA - a landlord is not allowed to ban the keeping of pets, which may include the usual cats and dogs as well as ‘new pets’ (les nouveaux animaux de compagnie - les nacs) such as reptiles and tarantulas.
This does not remove the tenant's responsibility for preventing damage to the property or nuisance to neighbours and does not necessarily apply to dogs considered to be of dangerous breeds which are regulated by strict laws in France. However, French vet Dr Brice Martin said what was allowed in theory did not always apply in practice, especially if there were specific rules about animals in the tenant's contract - some landlords might try to enforce a ban even if the theory says they cannot.
He added landlords who did not want animals might also find an excuse not to take on tenants who had them in the first place. So, the answer is you have the right to a pet but it is best to tread carefully and it is preferable to find out your landlord's views. Rules concerning noisy pets can also be strictly enforced and lead to police investigations, court cases and the animal being taken away.

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