Since the 1st of June 1999, any dangerous dog or animal behaving dangerously towards people or other's pets may be reported to the local mayor who will instruct the owner of the dangerous animal to take steps to prevent any danger.
The French Rural Code, art. 211-1, completed by Law 99-5 of 06/01/1999 concerning dangerous and stray animals and animals welfare and Law 2008-582 of 20/06/2008 reinforcing the measures for the prevention and protection of persons from dangerous dogs defines 2 categories of potentially dangerous dogs (see PDF online or from our Downloads)
First category "attack dogs": dogs without official pedigree and looking like the following breeds: Staffordshire Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier (Pit-bull type), Mastiff or Tosa type.
2nd category (guard dogs and molossoids) are pedigree dogs registered with the official stud book - the Livre des Origines Français, in short LOF - of the following breeds: Staffordshire Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier, Mastiff, Tosa, Rottweiler or Rottweiler like, in case of dogs without pedigrees.
The owners of dogs of both categories have to apply to the town hall of the locality where they live in order to get a dangerous dog licence.
Owners are required to:
pass a training course certifying that they have the capacity to hold a dog of 1st or 2nd category,
get a civil liability insurance,
carry the licence with them and show it to the police forces whenever required.
The dog has to:
pass a behavioural assessment with an authorised veterinarian every 1 to 3 years (depending on its risk level).
be identified by microchip or tattoo, and vaccinated.
Incidents have to be reported to the town hall; if necessary the mayor can require a behavioural assessment of the dog, decide to take hold of a dangerous dog, and eventually put him down (euthanase).
1st category dogs cannot be bought, sold, given away, imported, bred from, nor owned by people under 18 years of age or those with a criminal record. The dogs of 1st category dogs have to be sterilized. They are not allowed in public transport or public places.
Both categories have to be muzzled and on leash, and accompanied by an adult when on public roads.
owners without licence are given 1 month to regularise their situation.
further sanctions: 3 months of prison and 3.750 € fines;
seizure of the animal and interdiction to hold a categorized dog for 5 years, etc.