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Hay, my wife Irene and I live in a beautiful part of Normandy. We have had a herd of bulls ravaging our garden. How would you deal with this if you were in my place for insurance etc. Horticultural expert? Horticultural 'Expert juridiaire'. I have the right to choose one. But from what list? Many thanks, Kaeso

Hi Kaeso

This is a problem I encountered many many times over the years.

A herd of cows can be very damaging to the lawn and of course crash about the borders and break off branches and stems of plants and trees.

Firstly, and with some urgency you need to take some photographs of all of the damage and find someway of dating this.

Digital date imprints is the first step but of course we all know that dates can be altered using photo packages such as Photoshop etc. so finding another method of registering the dates are important.

Take a photo of where the animals are getting in and if this happens again then a photo of the cows in the garden would be great for you in making any claim.

Of course, getting accurate estimates for the reparation of any damage will be required and this can only be done by someone visiting your property and providing a devi.

You will need a registered contractor who can demonstrate that they have a legitimate siret number to supply you with an estimate.

The black market is rife in France so do not be tempted to get a quote from an unregistered gardener otherwise the claim will be rejected.

If you are successful in proving that the person responsible has neglected their fencing then the insurance (assurance) will persue them for this cost.

However, expect some opposition from your neighbour, especially if they are not insured.

Be prepared to call the local Gendarmerie who are very good at attending properties in their territory. If they witness the incursion and damage it will strengthen your case.

I hope this helps a bit but I am not an expert by any means in law (let alone French law) and asking general questions on French forums such as This French Life http://www.thisfrenchforum.com/ may help your cause.

Good luck

Phil

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