The abandonment of pets is a sad and lamentable phenomenon in our country. The main victims of this cowardice are dogs and cats. With an average of 100,000 animals abandoned every year, France holds the sad European record for the country that treats its pets the worst.

There is not just one answer to the question; “I have found a dog, what should I do?”, because it all depends on the dog’s situation, its state of health, and many other factors.

Dog found: what to do?
If you find a dog, you have to:

Approach him gently, if he becomes aggressive, contact the authorities directly.
-Check to see if he has a medal or a chip.
-If he has one, take him to the vet to read it.
-If he doesn’t have one, contact the animal pound, the police, or ICAD.
-How do I help an abandoned dog?

The first thing you need to understand if you have found an abandoned or lost dog is that it will probably be scared to death. You must take certain precautions and under no circumstances should you approach him in an invasive manner, because if he has already had a traumatic experience, he may react unpredictably.

It is important to point out that it is possible to find an abandoned dog on the road or at a petrol station, but in more extreme cases it is also possible to find an abandoned dog in a house without people living there.

How do I approach an abandoned dog?
In the following, we will explain the right way to approach an unknown dog. Remember that you should not force him to do something he doesn’t want to do unless he is in imminent danger, as the goal is to gain his trust and prevent him from running away.

1-Start by approaching the dog from the side, never from the front, while you talk to him in a quiet, high-pitched, pleasant voice. You can say words like “my beautiful” or “good dog” to make him see you as something positive.
2- When you are at a certain distance from him, bend your knees a little, bend your knees, and extend the palm of your hand so that he can come to sniff you. Avoid making sudden movements, as you may frighten him.
3-Don’t stare at him and don’t approach him directly, as he may misinterpret your approach.
4-If you have food, try to attract him by scattering it on the ground, this technique will allow you to capture his attention, create a positive environment, and make him trust you.

Abandoned dog approaches
If your dog has approached you voluntarily, you can take the opportunity to see if he has a collar and an identification tag, on which the phone numbers of his guardians will be noted. If his coat is in good condition, there’s a good chance he belongs to someone, so you can try taking him to the vet to have his chip read. This procedure will be performed free of charge by all vets.

If it is an abandoned dog with a chip, you or the vet clinic can try to contact the family. It is important to specify that in some cases the chip has not been updated and does not have the current information from the guardian. If it is an abandoned dog without a microchip, you can go directly to the next box.

Abandoned dog refuses to approach
If the dog is suspicious, aggressive, frightened, or behaving abnormally, do not try to approach. In the next box, we explain where you should call. Remember that you should always act calmly and patiently.

Who do you call when you find a dog?

Many people tend to contact a shelter directly to leave the dog abandoned, however, this is not the best solution.

If you have found an abandoned dog, you must contact the authorities explaining the situation, the exact location where you found the dog and you must provide all the information they will ask for:

Contact the animal pound nearest you.

Adopting an abandoned dog
Even if it’s a nice feeling, taking over an animal you’ve just found is illegal… You will first have to ask your mayor’s permission to adopt this abandoned dog. Once 8 days have passed, and if you have no news from the animal’s guardian, you will have to give the animal to a refuge or a SPA.

Don’t forget that if you declare the animal abandoned in your name, the former guardians can file a complaint against you for theft.

What do I do if I see someone abandoning an animal?

In France, abandoning an animal is forbidden by law. Abandoning an animal is considered a serious offense punishable by 2 years imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 euros.

But, how can we know if it is a case of abandonment or loss? If you see that someone is leaving their dog or cat on the side of the road, you will have to :

Contact the authorities as explained above.
Contact animal organizations such as 30 million friends.
Gather all the evidence you can get, film, take pictures, etc….
Write a dated statement describing the facts and the location. Don’t forget that everything you do must always remain within the framework of legality.


This article is purely informative, we do not have the expertise to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to bring your animal to the veterinarian if it presents the symptoms of a fever or a disease.


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