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ANIMAL WELFARE

What you need to know about owning a dog in France

There's a practical side to puppy love in France. From the certificates you need to sign, to the microchips you need to insert and the documents you need to travel there’s much more to owning a dog than loving them, feeding them and taking them for a walk.

What you need to know about owning a dog in France
(Photo: Laurent Emmanuel / AFP)

Getting a dog

Popping down to the pet store and picking up a perfect pooch is pretty much a thing of the past already. Pet shops will not be able to sell dogs and cats from 2024 – and won’t be able to display them in shop windows – and many have already removed puppies from displays. Only abandoned dogs and cats will be available for sale in pet stores, working with rescue shelters. 

A new law – which was published in the Journal Officiel in July – makes sure that first-time buyers of cats or dogs have to sign a ‘certificate of commitment and understanding’ before making their purchase. After the signed document is delivered to the authorities, future owners have seven days to change their mind – the idea is to prevent people from ‘impulsively’ buying pets only to abandon them later. For more detail, click here

Pet abandonement is a massive problem in France, which means there are lots of lovely dogs in animal shelters that need good homes.

Registration  

Under French law, pet dogs – and cats and ferrets – over a certain age must be identified and registered on a national database. This applies whether you get a new dog in France, or whether you move to France with your dog.

The animal must be identifiable by a tattoo or microchip – the latter is the most common method – that is registered on the Identification des carnivores domestiques (I-CAD) database. 

The procedure to insert the microchip, or ink the tattoo, must be carried out by an approved professional. The procedure should be done by a vet and costs between €40 and €70.

Once the animal is registered on the database, the owner will receive a letter from I-CAD, along with a credit card-sized document listing the registered animal’s details, including its home address.

For more details, click here

Pet passports

If you live in France you can get a pet passport issued by your vet in France, and use it to travel to other EU countries, and the UK.

For UK dog owners planning to bring their beloved pet to France, for example to a second home here, dogs – and cats and ferrets – now need an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) for a trip over, and a new certificate is required for each trip.

To get one you need:

  • Proof of your pet’s microchipping history
  • Your pet’s vaccination record
  • A certificate for a rabies vaccination that was carried out at least 21 days before the date of travel

For more on pet passports and Animal Health Certificates, click here

Other rules

You might not believe it if you have worked along certain streets in Paris, but it is in fact illegal in France to just to walk on after your dog has done its business on pavements, public roads, green spaces and public parks reserved for children. You can be fined if you fail to pick up after your pet. 

The standard fine is €68, but the mayor’s of some towns have imposed stricter rules in the street, in parks, gardens and other public spaces. 

In Bergerac (Dordogne) the fine has been increased to €750 –  while dog owners who do not carry two bags to collect the waste while they are out with their dogs could be fined €38.

The French government’s Service Public website lists other rules regarding the health and wellbeing of pets. Read it here

Collar

Among a range of rules this web page states that any dog out on the public highway, whether it is on a leash or not, must have a collar bearing the name and address of its owner engraved on a metal plate.

Trains and cafés

In many ways, France is a pretty dog-friendly place and most cafés and restaurants are happy to welcome dogs – guide dogs must be accepted at all businesses by law. Especially if you’re outside on a café terrace, don’t be surprised to see a dog lying under the next table.

Dogs can also travel on all trains in France (with the exception of the Eurostar) although they do need a ticket (€7) and of course must be accompanied by a human. 

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PROPERTY

New French State aid to help older people make home improvements

A new accessibility scheme recently announced by the French government gives grants for home improvements such as installing a stair lift or widening a doorframe to allow wheelchair access - here is how you could benefit.

New French State aid to help older people make home improvements

According to a recent survey in France, the vast majority of retired people expressed a desire to stay in their homes long-term, rather than entering a care facility.

While there are several schemes by the French government to provide assistance for renovating homes in order to make them more accessible for elderly people, the newly announced “MaPrimeAdapt” seeks to streamline the process.

When was it announced?

MaPrimeAdapt was part of President Emmanuel Macron’s re-election campaign, with plans for it first announced by the president last November.

Most recently, the government aid was earmarked to receive funding in the upcoming 2023 budget, which also hopes to increase the number of nursing home employees, as well as boost public funding for care centres.

The budget is set to allocate €35 million to the National Housing Agency (ANAH) in 2023. In response, the ministry of housing said to Capital France that one of their top priorities is “a single aid for the adaptation of housing to ageing” that would replace several existing government subsidies.

What is the goal of Ma Prime Adapt?

Similar to Ma Prime Renov, this programme hopes to provide additional funding for home refurbishment.

But while Ma Prime Renov focuses on environmentally friendly home adaptations, Ma Prime Adapt aims to make it simpler for older people or those with disabilities to refurbish their homes in order to maintain their autonomy and avoid falls.  

The French government also aims to reduce the number of fatal or disabling falls of people aged 65 by at least 20 percent by 2024, and by 2032, the goal is for at least 680,000 homes to be adapted, particularly those of low-income older people.

Who can benefit?

According to reporting by Le Monde, this aid is not solely reserved for people who already have decreased mobility. 

Instead, it is intended for older people generally. When applying, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that they are an independent retiree and need (this could be based on income, age, health, etc) to adapt their housing in order to make it more accessible.

The amount of assistance offered will be means-tested based on financial status.

What types of work would qualify?

Some examples of work that might qualify for assistance might be:

  • adapting the bathroom (for example, adding grab bars or enlarging the door)
  • replacing the bathtub with a shower
  • installing a bathtub with a door
  • installing a stair lift
  • adding access ramps to the home

The benefit is not limited to those options – any project that aims to increase home accessibility for a senior could qualify, as long as it is not simply aesthetic-focused.

Can it be combined with Ma Prime Renov?

They have different criteria, but Ma Prime Renov and Ma Prime Adapt can be combined in order to provide maximum support to elderly people wishing to adapt and stay in their homes.

How can I apply?

In order to apply, you will be required to meet the conditions stated above, in addition to being able to demonstrate that the housing in question is at least 15 years old and that the amount of work being done would cost at least €1,500.

Keep in mind that the renovation will need to be carried out by a recognised building company or contractor – specifically one with the label “RGE.”

You will be able  toapply for the Ma Prime Adapt aid via France’s National Housing Agency (ANAH). A dedicated website will be created to facilitate the process, with a launch date TBC. 

On the site, you will submit an application form that includes the estimates of the work planned. According to Le Monde, €5,600 will be the maximum amount of aid to be offered, and the cost of work will be capped at €8,000. However, this information has not yet been published by the National Housing Agency. 

What have the other available schemes been?

Currently, retirees in France can apply for the “Habiter facile” scheme from the ANAH (Agence Nationale de l’Habitat), which also helps to finance work that promotes the ability of elderly people to remain in their homes.

“Bien vieillir chez soi” is a similar aid scheme which is offered by the CNAV (social security).

The elderly and disabled can also benefit from tax credits on accessibility or home adaptation work. 

These will likely be replaced by Ma Prime Adapt, which will combine all benefits into one package.

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