The Civil Code continues to subject cats to the movable property regime.

BAlthough the Civil Code (Article 515-14) since 16 February 2015 admits that animals are “living beings endowed with sentience”, he keeps submitting them “under the movable property scheme”. The rule, stated in its article 2276, according to which ” in the case of furniture, possession equals ownership. therefore applies to them, as the following case shows.

The night between 6 and 7 November 2018, Mme X, a professional purebred cat breeder, flees his home under threat from his partner, Mr. Y, a store employee. She brings only her two daughters and her eight cats, including Bond, a Maine Coon – recognizable by its gigantic size and its half-length hair – to act as a breeder. She stays two weeks with a friend, Z, time to turn around.

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When she found a roof, Mme X drives Bond to the vet to complete his registration in the National Domestic Carnivore Identification File (I-CAD). After reading the cat’s microchip, the vet informs him that it is already there, in Mr. Y’s name. The breeder understands that her partner has used Bond’s papers, left behind on his escape, to appropriate them, with a smug professional who had no right to do so without seeing the animal.

But to make the purchase of the father profitable (about 1,500 euros), she needs these papers, which will justify her pedigree during the projections and will allow the sale of kittens registered in the official book of cat origin.. On 18 August 2020 she therefore summons Mr Y to order him to return them to her. He then maintains that he is the owner of Bond and that Mme X has him “Fly”.

“Presumption” of ownership

Mr.’s lawyerme X invokes Article 2276 of the Civil Code, according to which possession of movable property causes a “assumption” of property. He reminds that the person claiming this property – such as Mr Y – must prove that the possession was “malfunction”. Now he claims that the possession of Bond united “four conditions” which makes it possible to be said to be free for all “vice”, since she was “peaceful, continuous, public and unequivocal”.

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Peaceful, because Bond’s bill of sale proves that Mme X bought him, in the Ukraine, shortly after acquiring his brother, Banderas, from a colleague who had given him, as with every child in the litter, “a movie name”. Go ahead, because his mistress has it constantly fed and looked after – as Z. Public because she made him attend cat shows. Unambiguously, because she was the exclusive owner.

The fact that Mr Y had Bond registered in his name with I-CAD does not make this possible “temporary” this possession, especially since Mme X provides a letter of apology from the professional who did it. This one claims to have been “betrayed” by Mr. Y, which, ” crying “, said the cat “run away”. The number of the cat’s chip that appears in the passport, the professional found his file and replaced the name of the Ukrainian breeder with the name of MY

Mme X therefore won his case, at first instance, then on appeal, on 19 September (2022) at the Colmar Court of Appeal. Alas, for the male the victory comes too late: he was forbidden to cover for two years, he became unmanageable and had to be… neutered.

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