There are new responsibilities for pet owners under the new Ley de protección de los derechos y el bienestar de los animales, (Law of protection of the rights and well-being of animals). which was passed by Congress in March and comes into effect on September 29.
Below is a brief summary of the changes for your information.
The law is not without controversy, from excluding dogs used for hunting to a risk of increasing the number of animals abandoned due to extra expenses such as insurance and sterilization etc.
However, the spirit of the law is to protect pets and will depend to a large extent on the vigilance of everyone, from private citizens to local authorities and to the security forces, to ensure it is enforced and those who contravene it are punished.
Following is a brief summary of the law as it currently stands. Any clarifications published before or after September 29 will be published on this webpage.
THE NEW LAW ON THE PROTECTION OF THE RIGHTS AND WELL BEING OF ANIMALS SEPTEMBER 29 2023
The law prohibits leaving a pet alone for more than three days or 72 hours. In case of dogs this is reduced to one day or 24 hours.
It will be unlawful to keep a pet habitually on a terrace, balcony, rooftop, or in a shed or outside cupboard, cellar or under build, patio or similar or in a vehicle.
The private sale of dogs, cats and ferrets is prohibited unless by an authorized breeder with current permits. Also prohibited are “go-betweens” and private sales.
The category of potentially dangerous dogs is maintained although it will be substituted in the future by a sociability test and a new term of “dog of special handling.”
This applies to the Pit Bull Terrier, Rottweiler, Dogo Argentino, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Fila Brasileño, Tosa Inu and Akita Inu, which, for the moment, continue to be registered as potentially dangerous breeds and ownership carries obligations such as an administrative licence, short lead, muzzle, and not walking them off a lead in areas with other dogs.
An insurance policy specially designated for these breeds is obligatory.
It is totally prohibited to sacrifice animals for economic reasons but exclusively for medical motives or for health reasons.
All cats must be sterilized from the age of six months independent of their race, sex or situation.
All pets must be vaccinated regularly and in accordance with the law.
All cats and ferrets, as well as dogs, must have a microchip to identify them with the objective of reducing strays and controlling multiple aspects related to these animals.
Obligatory training courses for dog owners.
Everyone wanting to own or already owning a dog must take an obligatory course, probably online, and with content yet to be decided. The object being to foment responsible ownership and care of dogs.
Obligatory third party and civil responsibility insurance for your dog.
This is already obligatory in Madrid and under this law will be extended nationally.
Within 24 months that this law comes into effect, that is September 29, a regulation will be approved to develop an open state list which will indicate the types of animals which may be kept as pets as well as those which, under this law, may not be kept.
Dogs exclusively kept for specific work activities such as hunting, shepherding or by the security forces are exempt from this law.
Some clarification on exotic pets and invasive species:
Even though it should be understood that since 2013 the law (ley (Real Decreto 630/2013) exists and prohibits having invasive and invasive exotic species as pets, there are certain categories specified in the new law and itprohibits having the following animals as pets: lovebirds, Argentine parrots, racoons, hedgehogs and Vietnamese pot bellied pigs.
If you have owned one of these animals before 2013, the year of the Royal Decree, you can continue to keep it but you must notify the competent authority in order that it may be included in the specific register (normally regional), which can be done online. These animals must be sterilized and their sale is prohibited. Having these animals without registering them can carry fines of up to 200,000 euros.
(For further information speak to your vet).
Abandoning such an animal is considered immoral and a threat to the ecosystem and carries the maximum penalty.
If your pet is not a dog, cat or ferret, but is not in danger of extinction, is not of an exotic invasive species, does not carry diseases and is not dangerous in any manner, you can continue to keep it as long as you register it as above.
Ill treatment of animals under this law is one of its key points and abandoning/cruelty of an animal carries fines of between 500 and 10,000 euros; in cases considered “serious” may be sanctioned by as much as 10,000 to 50,000 euros; and very serious carries 50,000 to 200,000 euros fines depending on the circumstances of the offence.