France's first dog 'Nemo' stars in presidential plea against cruelty to animals

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Nemo, the dog of France's President Emmanuel Macron and wife Brigitte, has appeared in a video appeal on social networks urging people to adopt pets "with awareness" this Christmas.

"My story begins with an abandonment," reads the caption under the curious snout of the black Labrador-Griffon cross, adopted by the presidential couple from an animal refuge centre in 2017.

"Like me, 100,000 animals are abandoned each year in France. So at Christmas, adopt – but adopt with awareness," says Nemo in the video posted to Macron's Instagram, Snapchat, Tiktok and Facebook accounts.

20 million euro plan

The presidential pooch says an "action plan" will soon be launched to combat the abandonment of animals, with 20 million euros of France's Covid-19 recovery package earmarked for the campaign.

"Cruelty to animals will face tougher punishment," adds Nemo. "Because your pet is part of your family. And he is counting on you."

French parliament is to continue debate on a bill against animal abuse in January. In addition to harsher punishments, the legislation also aims to improve the conditions of abandoned animals in refuge centres.