Laws in France pertaining to animal welfare

Gratefully copied with permission credit @LauraMeyer

We have been seeing a lot of posts offering dogs/puppies for rehoming/rescuing for a fee and for requests and offers of transport where fees apply amongst others lately.

France has very strict laws on these types of transactions for animal welfare purposes.  Not only can you as an individual be prosecuted and fined if pursued but as Admins we are also liable for content on this page.

Therefore we need to make some rules about what and what is not permissible to post from today and also to make you aware of the laws in France should you not be aware of them yourselves so that you do not fall foul of them. (Disclaimer: this is not a full disclosure of ALL laws, merely a synopsis and you should seek further legal advice or make further research should you wish to.  No liability will be taken for any information given herein).

Please do not debate the fairness (or not) of these laws.  These are the laws and therefore we should abide by them.  Whether so and so gets away with whatever is NOT the point of this post nor is how likely are you to get caught.

Basic animal welfare laws (we shall refer mainly to dogs)

1.  Nobody may have more than 9 dogs over 4 months of age in one household on one premises.  The premises should be securely fenced and the dogs should have access to water, shelter and food.

2. If you have or wish to have more than 9 dogs over four months of age then you must make a declaration to your prefecture via the DDCSPP for permission, this applies to both PRIVATE and PROFESSIONAL people including those with a pack of chasse (hunting) dogs.

3. Dogs should not be left to roam and category dogs must be muzzled outside the perimeter of your home in public places.  Guard dogs must be clearly denoted and must be behind a fence of at least 2m in height.  Dogs should be kept on leads in public areas and absolutely in town perimeters and should be under control.  If you allow your dog off lead in suitable areas they must be under control (ie a good recall) and within 100 mtrs and in sight.

4. Those who do not pick up poo can be fined, the law is there, it is just not often applied!

5. No vaccinations are required in law in France whatsoever  except rabies if you wish to cross EU borders.  This does NOT apply to category 1 & 2 dogs who must have a valid rabies (and specific insurance).

6. You should have an ATTENTION CHIENS sign clearly visible on your gate AND/OR door.  If anybody chooses to enter without permission and gets bitten then your insurance should protect you, if there is no sign showing clearly then you will be personally held responsible.

7.  All dogs over 4 months of age MUST be identified by a microchip or tattoo and registered with ICAD the French ID database.  Foreign dogs imported to France should be attached to that register via your vet within a month of importation.

The selling of dogs/rehoming rescues etc

1. To sell a litter of puppies that are LOF (French register of pedigree dogs) registered, you must either be a registered breeder (éleveur/se) with a SIRET number issued by the Chambre d’agriculture or if you  do not have more than ONE litter a calendar year and the puppies are registered LOF you MAY sell them.  You are obligated to microchip the puppies before they leave your premises or any over 4 months of age.  You are NOT obligated to vaccinate and you CANNOT advertise online in ANY FORM.

If the puppies are NOT LOF registered then you MUST have a SIRET in ALL cases to take any money whatsoever, whether you call this a donation or a fee or a purchase price whether or not they have been either intentionally bred or is an accidental litter.  Again you are obligated just to microchip each puppy prior to leaving the premises or any over 4 months of age.  Donations given to a charity or direct to the vet to pay his or her fees are usually excepted.  No money can change hands between the breeder or rehomer unless the above applies.  To advertise you must publish the mother’s microchip details and clearly state your status.

LOF explicitly means dogs entered into the FRENCH KENNEL CLUB RECORDS.  As an example I know of a lady who intentionally bred a litter from UK KC registered dogs, very well bred dogs and she assumed this meant she could have ONE litter.  She advertised, a fellow breeder of the same breed complained as the lady was completely unregulated, and she was forced to give the puppies away or face a severe fine.  PEDIGREE does not mean LOF.

In both these cases the ‘breeder’ MUST have completed their qualification which is to have obtained the Attestation de Connaissances (the old CCAD) and have applied to the DDCSPP for permission/authorisation to carry out their activities.

2. A registered breeder CAN advertise (online) so long as their SIRET is clearly on the advertisement along with the mother’s microchip amongst other things.

3. Free to a good home – absolutely means free.   NO donations, fees or charges can be sought for any purpose whatsoever (eg to cover costs).  This usually (but not always) applies to rescued dogs where the bitch has dropped a surprise litter.  It’s unfortunate but that is the law and should you wish to charge then the above applies.  Our suggestion would be to place the pups up for adoption via a local animal charity which will ensure you will not fall foul of any law.

4. Those that do get permission/authority from the DDCSPP will be subject to controls and visits by veterinary professionals and must adhere to further rules of which are not relevant here.

5. To work with animals in France on a regular basis unpaid or paid even once, you MUST have the Attestation de Connaissances AND authorisation from the DDCSPP.  This applies to ANYBODY including but not restricted to; trainers, breeders, refuge workers, house sitters, dog walkers).


1. To transport a dog/cat or ferret over 65 kms in TOTAL (so could be a round trip of 33 kms each way for example)  for what the French call a lucrative target which includes going to shows (your dog is showcased and therefore so is the saleability of any puppies), for fuel costs or a few euros for doing it you MUST have your Transport Animal Vivant licence AND your Attestation de Connaissances.  There are two types of licence both of which involve a vehicle check.  The driver does not have to have these but there MUST be a person within the car who has both and who is the ONLY ONE licenced to handle the animal(s) concerned. 

There are specific requirements when transporting animals and documentation is to be carried in the car at all times.  If you are stopped and the authorities even SUSPECT you are an unlicenced carrier you risk a severe fine and your vehicle could be seized.

This does not apply to volunteer covoiturage for rehoming with a fosterer or an adopter who gives an apdoption donation and not a fee.

Laura Meyer –