I found an animal in difficulty

Maison du Loup reminds us of the good reflexes to have when finding a stray and injured animal, whether domestic or wild.

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Have you found an abandoned dog suffering? A stray cat in bad shape, or perhaps an injured pigeon?


Emergency number

Don’t know who to call? You can call the number 112 in this case.

Calling #112 is also useful if:

  • Your mobile phone does not have a network signal. 112 is the only number that can be called from any network. Your mobile phone might not even have a SIM card inserted.
  • You can’t describe the place. If you call 112, the operator will not only indicate your telephone number but also your location on the map. Since the location is determined via the GSM network, it is not always precise enough, but it can help determine where the event occurred.

I contact the town hall

  • To have contact details for a collection service that can pick up the animal on public roads,
  • To have the contact details of services which will be able to check if the animal is identified by transponder (chip), search for its owner, and welcome it while waiting to find it.

The mayor is in fact responsible for stray animals in his municipality

This mean the town hall of the town where the animal was found. The mayor is in fact responsible for stray animals in his municipality, and must organize their care and support, and provide information concerning this service (article R 211-12 of the Rural Code).

At night or on public holidays, I will get the emergency number to contact.

I can also go to the town hall where these contact details are permanently displayed.

If the animal is injured: I contact the town hall. If the animal is injured on public roads, the collection service indicated by the town hall will be able to take care of it, or even the firefighters. At the animal shelter, the injured dog or cat will be treated by a veterinarian.

Apart of the shelter’s opening hours, the town hall’s emergency number will direct me to a veterinarian, who has signed an agreement, and who will be able to treat and hospitalize the animal while waiting for it to be taken into care by the shelter.

Failing this, I can take the animal to a nearby veterinarian, who, if he is not the approved veterinarian, will have me sign a deposit form, if it is an animal species that he can cure. If he cannot, he will direct me to a colleague who can.

If it is a wild animal

I am careful not to be bitten or scratched. I do not handle bats (risk of transmitting rabies) or baby birds that have fallen from the nest (I just protect them from predators).

Protected species – I notify the National Office for Hunting and Wildlife (ONCFS), which has sole decision-making power, whether the animal is injured or dead;

Game animals – I warn the mayor (possibly the ONCFS); In other cases, I contact the nearest wildlife care center.

Since animals are officially recognized as sentient, mistreating them is punishable by a fine or even several years in prison. Being a crime, abuse must be reported to the authorities as a priority.

First of all, contact the gendarmerie, the police station or the prefectural services.


Police / Gendarmerie

If you want to manage the animal by yourself

In all cases, it is up to the mayor to take care of domestic animals found wandering within the territory of his municipality. However, if you did not notify your town hall but you took an injured animal to a veterinarian yourself, what happens?

The legal texts do not provide for anything, because this is not the procedure to follow. It is then up to the veterinarian to try to find the owner (if the animal is identified). Inform the mayor and try to have the costs incurred by the treatment covered. If a person voluntarily wishes to cover veterinary costs, they can do so. – details Doctor Marc Veilly, general secretary of the Order of Veterinarians.

Veterinarians are obliged to treat animals

For their part, veterinarians are obliged to treat sick or injured animals in danger for which life is at risk if not treated (code of ethics for veterinarians revised in 2015)

Trying to find the owner

If it is a domestic animal and the veterinarian was unable to identify the animal by a tattoo or a chip, you can also post advertisements on several internet sites.

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