New Regulations in France Require Dogs to Be Leashed in Forests

by Lisa

Starting from April 15, dog owners in France will be required to keep their pets on a leash when walking in forests across the country, as part of efforts to protect wild animals.

The Office national des forêts (ONF) has issued a reminder of the rule, which stipulates that from April 15 to June 30, dogs must be kept on a leash at all times while walking in forests. This applies unless the forest features a clearly marked path and the dog can reliably stay on this path.


When off-leash, dogs are expected to adhere to specific guidelines, including staying on the designated path and having a strong recall to return to their owner promptly, even in the presence of distractions such as wild animals.


According to the ONF, forest paths encompass forest roads, tracks, footpaths, and long-distance footpaths (GR), but not forest partitions, fire fences, or field boundaries.


Throughout the year, dogs, especially when off-leash, must remain under control and not stray more than 100 meters away from their owner or walker in forests.


These regulations stem from a decree dated March 16, 1955, which extends beyond forests to other natural spaces. It prohibits dogs from roaming in cultivated or uncultivated land, meadows, vineyards, orchards, woods, marshes, and along riverbanks, ponds, and lakes to prevent the destruction of birds and game species and promote their repopulation.

Failure to comply with these rules, including the mandatory leashing requirement from April 15 to June 30, may result in fines of up to €750 for dog owners or walkers.


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