If you know of an equine that you believe is either neglected or abused, these guidelines will help you to decide what steps you can take to help the animal.

If the animal is obviously suffering from a recent serious injury you should contact a local vet and ask him/her to intervene – if they are unable to do so they should contact the local DDCSPP Veterinary Services  (Services Vétèrinaires Departmental) and request immediate intervention.

Should you see an equine you believe to be neglected or in need, please consider the following points:

  1. Are the hooves well maintained? If yes – the owner is probably aware of his responsibilities, but if there are other issues, we can certainly raise them with the owner.
  2. Is there sufficient grass and/or hay?
  3. Are there signs of illness or recent injuries?
  4. Is there any kind of shelter? (N.B. this can be ‘natural’ shelter such as trees or woods). Is the animal kept in inappropriate conditions?
  5. What is the ‘condition score’ of the equine? Please note that in our experience, if a horse is thin but there is plenty of food, it could mean he is just very old.

Once you’ve established that the equine is in need of help, please use the form on the CONTACT US web page selecting Equines from the drop-down menu. Or send an email to equines@phoenixasso.com. Please state in your message what the problem is and provide the following information:

  1. The name and postcode of the village including the location of the animal. If possible provide the email address of the mairie in that commune or contact details of the nearest mairie.
  2. Attach photographic evidence – take full body shots and zoom in for close ups.  (N.B. As a private individual, you are not entitled to enter on to private property uninvited, or to remove an animal in distress).

A Phoenix volunteer will contact you and then approach the local Maire officially regarding the equine. The Maire is responsible under the Code Rural for the welfare of all animals in his commune.  When the Maire is informed of the neglect or abuse the DDCSPP for the department will also be copied into the email, if it is felt necessary.

For your further information, the following extracts indicate the requirements of the Law regarding animal husbandry in France:

The law defines an animal as a sentient being and requires the owner to keep it in conditions consistent with the “biological requirements of its species” and ensuring that the living conditions are compatible with the animals’ welfare needs in several respects:

Food and Water:
The owner must make available…

  • appropriate food in sufficient quantity to maintain the animal’s well-being.
  • a supply of fresh water, refreshed regularly, and protected from freezing, in a properly maintained, clean container.

Adequate space with shelter against the weather should be provided.

Veterinary Care:
In case of illness or injury to an animal, the owner is obliged to ensure the animal is given the appropriate veterinary treatment.

What are the sanctions for abuse of an animal?
The abuse of animals, whether through negligence, ignorance or premeditated intent, is forbidden by Law. Under the Articles of the Criminal Code there are varying degrees of severity for penalties, from a fine of 450€ for unintentional injury or negligence, to 30,000€, with a temporary or permanent disqualification from owning pets and a prison sentence of up to 2 years for in cases of deliberate and premeditated cruelty.

Animal Welfare Associations only have the same rights as a private individual – they may not enter property or remove an animal without the consent of the owner. However, they have great expertise in persuading the local Mairie to take action, in negotiating with owners of animals which are being kept in poor conditions in order to improve those conditions or to remove an animal to a place of safety

Links to EQUINE websites:

Le Refuge des Oublies: http://www.le-refuge-des-oublies.com/

Foundation Brigitte Bardot: http://www.fondationbrigittebardot.fr/

LFPC Ligue Francaise pour la Protection du Cheval: http://lfpcheval.fr/

CHEM: http://www.chem.fr/

Au bonheur des chevaux: http://www.aubonheurdeschevaux.org/

A.D.A.D.A Association Nationale des Amis Des Ânes: http://www.assoadada.fr/

Les Sabots de l’Espoir: http://sabotsdelespoir.e-monsite.com/

Liberté des Anes (82): http://en.libertedesanes.com/

Œuvre de Pech Petit: http://pech.petit.free.fr/

Grand Refuge SPA (61): https://www.la-spa.fr/grandrefuge

Chevale Espoir: http://www.chevalespoir.com/

Equine Rescue France: http://www.equinerescuefrance.org

DDCSPP – Direction Departmental Cohesion Social Protection Populice (Services Vétérinaires) – addresses for all departments can be found on the web here: https://www.economie.gouv.fr/dgccrf/coordonnees-des-DDPP-et-DDCSPP

This advice guide contains links to other sites which Phoenix provides for the user’s information and convenience only. Phoenix does not control or monitor these other sites, nor does their inclusion does not mean that Phoenix recommends or endorses these sites, the organisations or companies that run the sites, or anything contained within the sites. We reserve the right to withdraw any of these links at any time. Websites come and go – if you notice that any of the links on our website are out of date or obsolete please let us know.