The new Animal Welfare Law has obligations that pet owners must comply with

  • Canarian Weekly
  • 05-09-2023
  • National
  • Photo Credit: Pexels
The new Animal Welfare Law has obligations that pet owners must comply with

On September 29th, the new Animal Welfare Law comes into force in Spain, including the Canary Islands, which includes new regulations for pet owners. Living with an animal entails responsibility and, in addition to the relevant care, requires dedicating attention to the animal that, from now on, will be regulated by law. However, animal owners still have some unanswered questions.

What dog and cat owners will be required to do:
Across Spain, there are around 29 million domestic animals in people’s homes, which is why it is necessary to regulate their care with a series of rules:

· Sterilization of pets: To try to reduce uncontrolled breeding and future abandonments, the regulations establish the obligation to sterilize all pets that live outside the interior of homes.

· Identification of pets: The aim of this is to create a database that establishes which animals can live with people and which cannot.

· Vaccination: It will be mandatory for all pets to be vaccinated to protect them from diseases.

· Prohibition of selling dogs and cats in pet shops: Pet shops will have a period of 12 months to stop selling these pets after the introduction of the new law.

· Mandatory supervision: Pets cannot be left without supervision for more than three consecutive days.

· Regulation of breeding: This can only be carried out by registered and professional breeders.

· Zero sacrifice: It is prohibited to end the life of pets without a duly justified cause, such as health reasons.

Do I have to take the new Animal Law course?
This is one of the most controversial points that has arisen from the new decree, which dictates that anyone who wants to have a dog as a pet, regardless of breed, must take a course before getting one. Those who already own one will have a period of two years to complete it.

If you fail it you not be allowed to get or keep a dog as a pet.

Civil liability insurance under the new animal law
The new law, approved last March, dictates that it will be mandatory for dog owners to take out civil liability insurance, regardless of their size, breed, or age.

The law establishes that dog owners must "take out and maintain a valid 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 the possible expenses derived, which will be established by regulation".

This regulation is similar to what already exists in regions such as Madrid and the Basque Country. According to industry estimates, insurance for small dogs could be between 20 and 50 euros per year, while policies for dangerous dogs, which were already mandatory, range between 50 and 100 euros per year.

Fine for not having insurance:
Dog owners who do not have civil liability insurance are exposed to fines of up to 10,000 euros.

How long can a dog stay home alone?
Dogs are the favourite pets in Spain, and with the new legislation, those who have one as a pet will have new obligations in their care. The main change is that the time a dog can spend alone at home will be legislated, and this will be a maximum of one day. It will also be prohibited to leave them alone in the car regardless of the length of the stop.

If this maximum of 24 hours is exceeded, a fine of up to 10,000 euros is applicable. The recommendations are that dogs do not spend more than six or eight hours alone. In the case of puppies or older dogs, the recommended time is reduced to two hours.

There will be exceptions for assistance dogs, police dogs, guide dogs, etc., which if implanted with an identification microchip may be alone for more than one day.

In the case of other pets such as rabbits, the maximum period that they can spend without supervision is 72 hours, that is, three days. It will also be prohibited for pets to live on terraces, balconies, basements or rooms of this nature.