Unmuzzled dog on train in France sparks complaint

A former MP complained about the Golden Retriever on social media, saying a ticket inspector and other passengers failed to tackle the owner

A Golden Retriever dog
Some dogs must be muzzled on trains in France. Picture for illustration purposes only.
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Former Socialist MP Anne-Yvonne Le Dain has provoked a debate after complaining about a Golden Retriever she saw on a train that was not wearing a muzzle.

Ms Le Dain posted a photo of the dog lying in a train aisle on X, formerly Twitter, with the caption “...we French grumble all the time but accept everything. Here, a very large dog on the train: no muzzle which is MANDATORY (for these dogs). The ticket inspectors, just ahead (said) nothing, nor did the passengers”.

The complaint provoked criticism, with some X users suggesting the dog could have been a guide or assistance dog, neither of which have to be muzzled on public transport.

Some, like journalist Hugo Clément, who specialises in environmental and animal-rights issues, criticised Ms Le Dain for sneaking the photo and complaining about such a “trivial” matter on social media rather than talking to the dog’s owner.

Others pointed out Golden Retrievers were known for being calm dogs.

Ms Le Dain doubled down on her criticism on Europe 1 on Monday (February 26), saying the dog had been “a danger to the lives of others”.

A commenter on the newspaper Le Figaro said “if this man had followed the rules, there would have been no sneaky photo and debate”.

What are the rules for muzzling dogs in France?

According to train operator SNCF, larger dogs, weighing more than 6kg, must be "muzzled throughout the journey", wear a lead and travel at their owner’s feet. Owners also need to buy a special pet ticket, which costs €7.

However, these rules do not apply to guide or assistance dogs, which travel free of charge and without a ticket on all SNCF trains. A muzzle is not compulsory for these dogs.

Smaller dogs should travel in a “bag or basket” measuring 45 x 30 x 25cm or less, and must be "placed on your lap or at your feet", according to the SNCF rules. They also need a €7 pet ticket to travel on trains.

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