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Dangerous Dogs Licence Becomes Mandatory

Owners of attack and guard dogs in France are required to possess a licence from 1 January 2010.

A law dating from June 2008 has come into operation that strengthens the safeguards against dangerous dogs.

The new law divides dangerous dogs into two different groups. Group 1 regulates the ownership of attack dogs such as Pitballs, Tosa, Boerboels, while Group 2 covers guard dogs, such as Rottweillers and the American Staffordshire.

If you own a dog belonging to one of these groups, then you will need to obtain a licence, called a permis de détention.

The maximum penalty for failing to obtain a licence is imprisonment and a fine of €3750. In the event of an attack on a person by one of the breed of dogs listed, then the owner faces a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to €150,000.

The licence is granted by the local mairie, on presentation of identification papers, a certificate of vaccination against rabies, third party liability insurance, sterilization (for Group 1 dogs), a certificate of behaviour of the dog, and a certificate of dog handling of the owner.

In order to obtain the dog handling certificate you will need to undertake a training course. It does not seem that an equivalent certificate from elsewhere would exempt you from the need to obtain a certificate from the French authorities, but there may be greater clarity on this point in the future.

For further information you should consult either your local council, the website of your prefecture, a local vet, or a training school.

This article was featured in our Newsletter dated 15/12/2009

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