A Comprehensive Guide to Spain’s New Animal Welfare Law: What Pet Owners Need to Know

After it was approved on March 28, the law comes into force on September 29. Animal Welfare Law. With this new legislation, which is based on the fact that animals are “sentient beings whose rights must be protected,” we seek to reduce animal abuse as well as abandonment. In addition, it seeks to promote adoption and foster care and put an end to unjustified sacrifices.

These are some of the most commented points and in which pet owners or those who want to get an animal will be most affected:

Mandatory and safe course: requirements to have a dog

Among the most important points is the mandatory training course for dog ownership, which will be valid infinitely and will be free. In addition, it is established that the person who has a dog “must take out and maintain in force civil liability insurance for damages to third parties, which includes in its coverage the persons responsible for the animal, for an amount sufficient to cover possible derived expenses, which will be established by regulation”.

Leaving animals alone for up to three consecutive days in places such as terraces, storage rooms, basements or vehicles will also be fined. In the case of dogs, this period will be 24 consecutive hours.

The limit number of dogs and cats per household

Another highly questioned point about this law is that it limits the number of dogs and cats that can live together in a home, leaving a legal vacuum for the rest of the species such as birds, ferrets or rodents. You cannot live with more than five of these animals. From this number onwards, you need to request a permit from the town hall, which will be supported by a veterinary report certifying the well-being of these animals at home.

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A zoo license may also be requested in the case of shelters, residences or shelters.

If you do not request any of these permits, having more than six pets can be punished with a fine ranging from 500 to 200,000 euros.

What animals are prohibited as pets

Another point that generated controversy was which animals were prohibited as pets. Pending a definitive list, they include “arthropods, fish and amphibians whose bite or poison may pose a serious risk to the physical integrity or health of people and animals”, venomous reptiles and all species of adult reptiles that exceed 2kg. , primates and wild mammals that weigh more than 5kg as adults.

In the event that a person has this animal at their home, they will have a period of six months from the entry into force of the law to notify the competent authorities, failing which, the fine may be 200,000 euros.

End of pet shops and shows and circuses

The marketing of dogs, cats and ferrets in pet stores is also prohibited, “as well as their display and exhibition to the public for commercial purposes.” They can only be sold by registered breeders.

Circuses and fair shows that “cause anguish, pain or suffering” are also prohibited, with a special provision for animals that participate in bullfighting shows. Cockfighting is also prohibited.

Toughening penalties for abuse

In addition, this new legislation brings with it a reform of the Penal Code that toughens penalties for animal abuse. There will be prison sentences of up to 24 months in the event that the animal dies as a result, or up to 36 months, in the event that more than one aggravating circumstance occurs. Regarding fines, minor infractions will have a penalty of up to 10,000 euros, while serious ones will be up to 50,000 euros and very serious ones will reach up to 200,000 euros.

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