Tahiti, June 16, 2022 – Seized by an association for the protection of animals, the administrative court annulled, on June 14, an order issued by the municipality of Rangiroa relating to the ban on feeding stray dogs. The court found in particular that the municipality had not established the “existence of a risk of harm requiring the safeguarding of public hygiene by such a measure”.
The administrative court of French Polynesia canceled, on Tuesday, an order issued by the municipality of Rangiroa on September 21 to prohibit the feeding of stray dogs. The municipality had issued this decree, basing it in particular on the “multiplication of incidents caused to people by stray dogs and on the need to safeguard public hygiene”. The administrative court had been seized by the association Sos animals atoll Rangiroa last November in order to have this decree canceled on the grounds that the“ban enacted” was “general and absolute in time and space of the municipality” and that she was “disproportionate”. She had also argued that the municipality did not justify “problems it would encounter on its soil due to feeding stray animals”.
In its decision rendered on Tuesday, the administrative court concluded that the disputed judgment should be annulled. He considered, on the one hand, that in “not submitting any document to the file, the municipality of Rangiroa does not establish the existence of incidents or of a risk of disturbance to public order which would be caused to people residing in the villages of Avatoru, Tiputa, ‘Otepipi or in the islands of Makatea or Tikehau”. On the other hand, the court noted that, “in the same sense, by not adding to the file any document relating to an attack on public hygiene, the municipality does not establish the existence of a risk of attack on public health requiring to safeguard public hygiene by such a measure”.
No established fact
Finally, the administrative court considered that if article 2 of the impugned decree provides that the “Feeding stray animals is strictly prohibited”he “it appears from the documents in the file that this prohibition measure, which is not limited to public roads or places accessible to the public and which thus includes a general and absolute prohibition”was “disproportionate to the objective of protecting security and public health pursued”.
Considering therefore that this decree was not based on “no materially established fact” and that it was tainted with illegality, the administrative court annulled it. He also ordered the municipality to pay 150,000 XPF to Sos Animaux Atoll Rangiroa, an association whose main purpose is the free sterilization of stray dogs as well as the exemption from “free care necessary for their survival”.