Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Thursday, 19 September 2013

An eventful bike ride: Chien 1 Cyclist 0 or what to do in France if bitten by a dog

The Loire isn't as quiet and peaceful as you think!
Yesterday soon after I posted: 'Loire 2013 – certainly going to be a late vintage' – I set off on my mountain bike for a quiet spin through the local vineyards to get an initial idea of how the grapes were looking and to take a few photos. The ride turned out to be considerably more eventful and painful than I anticipated! 

Eventful because I got bitten by a dog – a braque – not just a nip but a proper bite with the dog's tooth going well into my right calf. Not sure it was a Braque de Weimar but it certainly looked like this and was certainly a powerful brute.   

It happened around 5pm in the 'badlands!' of Saint-Georges-sur-Cher I had cut down through the vines to the east of Château les Coudraies and joined a small road heading east. I passed an elderly man sitting by a small bridge over a stream. Almost immediately two barking dogs, one a braque and one a much smaller breed, ran out from the wood close to where the man was sitting. I slowed down to avoid colliding with the dogs and then accelerated to try to get away from them. The powerful braque was on my right side snarling and snapping. It kept up with me as I accelerated up the hill and sank its teeth into my right calf with one tooth going in quite deeply. The other dog chased on my left hand side but made no attempt to bite.    

I continued riding and managed to distance the dogs. However, as it was clear that the braque had inflicted a substantial bite, I stopped and walked back with the bike to the bridge to ascertain if the man was the dog's owner. As I walked back the braque continued to try to bite me: managing one small nip as I used the bike as a shield. Regrettably I rather forgot my journalistic instincts as I ought to have taken an immediate photo of the bites.

The man explained that the dog belonged to his son, who had been on holiday in Morocco, and was returning that evening. He was a retired doctor, who lived in the house very close to the bridge. He offered to disinfect my wounds and bandage them up, which, given the state of the bites I happily accepted. 

 The dressing over the bites taken nearly 24 hours after it happened

An hour or so later I headed down to the chemist and the doctors' surgery in Saint-Georges-sur-Cher, where I was seen amazingly quickly by Docteur Yannick Legeay, who redressed my wounds, prescribed antibiotics and organised a tetanus jab. Dr Legeay turned out to be a keen amateur du vin. He also alerted me to the strict laws in France regarding dog bites – see below. I was equally impressed by the Pharmacie-des-Vignes, which is part of the same complex at the eastern end of Saint-Georges-sur-Cher. Unfortunately the bite has also proved to be painful to my pocket running up bills of 74.71€ to the doctor and the chemist, although I will be able to claim this back. 

In France new laws on dangerous dogs were passed in 2008. The owner of any dog that bites someone has to take the dog to the vet within 24 hours of the incident and then has to make two further visits to the vet. Not only will the dog's health be checked but its 'dangerosité' will be assessed.

This morning, kindly accompanied by Michel Mergot, the maire of Epeigné-les-Bois, I went back to see the owner of the dog, who had now returned from his holiday in Morocco. I wanted to insist that he took his dog to the vet, as the next time it could be a small child on a bike who gets attacked. The dog's owner lives in the north of France, so he has arranged to take his dog to a vet in his home town.

Useful explanation of the French law on dog bites from  


Lorsqu’un chien, quelle que soit sa race, a mordu une personne, il doit obligatoirement subir une surveillance sanitaire de quinze jours. Et depuis juin 2008, toute morsure doit être déclarée et le chien doit subir une évaluation comportementale. 
Lorsqu’un chien mord une personne, il doit subir une surveillance sanitaire de 15 jours. Celle-ci est obligatoire, en prévention de la rage, que le chien soit ou non vacciné.  Cette surveillance se passe en trois temps :

-une visite chez le vétérinaire dans les 24 heures suivant la morsure

-7 jours après la morsure

-puis 15 jours après la morsure.

Trois visites chez le vétérinaire

Le vétérinaire contrôle l’état de santé de chien et remet à son propriétaire à chaque fois trois exemplaires du certificat de surveillance.

L’un est destiné au maître, le second à la personne qui été mordue et le troisième à la compagnie d’assurance.   

Depuis juin 2008 : de nouvelles obligations

Depuis juin 2008, tout chien ayant mordu une personne doit subir une évaluation comportementale et sa morsure doit être déclarée auprès de la mairie du lieu de résidence.

Le vétérinaire devra également déclarer cette morsure au maire et au Fichier National Canin.

De plus, le chien mordeur devra subir une évaluation comportementale. Elle sera effectuée chez un vétérinaire inscrit sur les listes départementales et devra intervenir avant la fin des quinze jours de mise sous surveillance sanitaire.

A l’issu de cette évaluation, le chien sera classé sur une échelle allant de 1 à 4, ce qui correspond à un degré de dangerosité quasi nul à un degré élevé :

Niveau 1 : pas de risque particulier de dangerosité en dehors de ceux inhérents à l'espèce canine.
Niveau 2 : risque de dangerosité faible pour certaines personnes ou dans certaines situations.
Niveau 3 : risque de dangerosité critique pour certaines personnes ou dans certaines situations.
Niveau 4 : risque de dangerosité élevé pour certaines personnes. 

Le vétérinaire est amené à conseiller le maître en fonction du ‘’classement’’ de son chien et lui indiquer des mesures préventives à mettre en place. Une nouvelle évaluation pourra être décidée par le vétérinaire qui précisera le délai compris entre un à trois ans :

- Si le chien est classé au niveau 2, elle sera renouvelée dans un délai maximum de trois ans ;

- Si le chien est classé niveau 3, elle sera renouvelée dans un délai maximum de deux ans ;

- Si le chien est classé en niveau 4, elle sera renouvelée dans un délai maximum de un an.

Le résultat de l’évaluation sera transmis à la mairie qui pourra décider de diverses mesures en fonction du niveau du chien, notamment de la remise du permis de détention obligatoire depuis le 1er janvier 2010.


Grapes in a vineyard above Les Coudraies. Not sure if this is Gamay or Côt

The leaves should give a clue

2013 Sauvignon Blanc in Saint-Georges-sur-Cher (above and below)

Despite the bite I did manage to take a few photos in the Saint-Georges vineyards. Although the Sauvignon is ripening it is obviously not yet ready to pick.



Jean said...

What an awful thing to happen.
Lulu was bitten by another dog when she was only one year old. We were walking behind the château when a black lab, of all things, broke free from its owner and came running towards us, dragging its lead. It attacked Lulu, biting her on the hip. The owner was one of those pathetically feeble scrawny women who had no chance of controlling the dog.
I was more concerned with getting us both away without further harm so didn't have the chance to question the silly woman as she tried to get her dog under control.

Lulu ended up with an abcess, a serious infection and was very poorly indeed. I thought we were going to lose her but the vet at Preuilly saved her.

So look after that bite. Dog bites are often infected, which is hardly surprising when you think about what they put in their mouths.

Thanks for the useful link to the law on dogs in France. I hope your bite heals soon.

Jim's Loire said...

Many thanks Jean. It is healing up well and I'm taking antibiotics plus had a tetanus jab.