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Protection of Animal Rights Laws in Spain

in Andalucia, Spain
By | Last Updated 20 Jan 2022 | News

The Draft Law and Protection of Animal Rights in Spain was published in the Official State Gazette on Wednesday 5th January 2022. It should come into force on the 25th January 2022. The new law will affect all owners of dogs, cats and ferrets.

Why is the Animal Rights Law Necessary?

The law is part of a series of measures designed to recognise animals as legitimate members of the family and promote animal rights in Spain.

What Does the Animal Rights Law Mean for Pet Owners?

As from Wednesday 5th January 2022, animals in Spain will be considered to be sentient beings, meaning that they can no longer be seized, mortgaged, abandoned, mistreated or removed from one of their owners in the case of a separation or divorce. Livestock animals are not considered ‘companion animals’.

- In divorce proceedings, judges will be able to:
- Award joint custody to pets taking into account ‘the new needs of the companion animal’
- Dictate maintenance costs for the maintenance costs of the animal and rule on which spouse has custody if they cannot reach an agreement
- A spouse may be denied custody if they have been convicted of animal abuse or neglect

The law also states that, if a person finds a lost animal it should be returned to its owner unless there is evidence of neglect or abandonment in which case it should be handed over to the authorities. If the animal is returned to its owners, the finder is entitled to compensation for its care. It is estimated that between 150,000 and 300,000 animals are abandoned in Spain every year.

Pets can also now be included in wills. But if they are not, they will be handed over to inheritors who reclaim them. If this is not possible, they will be given to either an administrative body or centre that collects abandoned animals, until the inheritance procedures can be established. If none of the heirs want to take charge of them, the administration can hand them over to a third party for their care and protection.

What Documentation do Pets need in Spain Today

Pet owners, (at the moment, pets include dogs, cats and ferrets), in Spain are already required to have a health booklet or Cartilla Sanitaria, issued by a chartered veterinarian, that shows the animals vaccination record. Dogs and cats also need a microchip that records a registration number and the contact details of the registry. The registry hold the details of the owner of the pet. Finally, the animal also needs proof that rabies vaccines have been administered. If you travel outside Spain with your pet, then you will also need a Pet Passport. Veterinarian clinics are responsible for ordering these documents.

Proposed Legislation for 2022

The Animal Rights Law lays the foundation for a series of measures that are intended to be introduced in 2022.

National Pet ID

In addition to the documentation mentioned above, it is proposed that pets will also need a National Pet ID, the so called ‘el DNI Animal’. The aim is to build a national database of pets in Spain. The pet ID will contain basic information relating to the animal, such as its date of birth, the number of vaccines it has had or any mistreatment carried out by its owners. There is a suggestion that the information will also include a photograph of the animal.

Training Course for Pet Owners

The draft bill also includes the requirement for people to do a training course before being allowed to adopt a pet, which teaches budding pet owners how to handle and care for their furry ones. It is likely that the course will be ‘on line’.

Restrictions on Pet Shops

If the draft law is passed, puppies and kittens will no longer be sold from pet stores. They will only be available from animal shelters and professional breeders.

Limits to the Number of Pets

It is proposed that a household will be allowed no more than five pets. This measure will not be applied retroactively.

Civil Liability Insurance for Pets

All pet owners will be required to take out civil liability insurance for their pets.

Updates to the Protection of Animal Rights Laws

As each of the proposed measures are introduced, this article will be updated.

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Approved Comments

Submitted by Barbara James on 14 Jan 2022
Will keeping dogs outside and on a chain be made illegal too? It is cruel .Too often I see this in spain

Reply by Nick Nutter:
I did not see any mention of chained animals

Submitted by Abbotts Shirley on 13 Jan 2022
What about the chaining up of dogs which I so frequently see

Reply by Nick Nutter:
There are a lot of unanswered questions such as this one. I do not know how the new laws will be enforced.

Submitted by R.Nield on 13 Jan 2022
The law is going to be hard to enforce but I think sterilisation is a better option This would stop the growing number of unwanted cats and dogs being abandoned. And each village and town should have funds to help.with sterilisation. Our small charity kkav is trying to help the village reduce the number of strays which are abandoned. And if people stop feeding them they can become a

Reply by Nick Nutter:
Quite agree

Submitted by Sharon Terry on 10 Jan 2022
Owners do not even get there pets microchipped, which is supposed to be law. So I cannot see that the new procedures will be followed. I think it will lead to more pets being left on the streets. I hope that it will be beneficial where dogs are left all day every day on there own in all weathers. Causing them to bark non stop through boredom Personally I think it would be more beneficial to allow dogs and cats to only have one litter and then to be sterilised. Funds should be made available with help of this. Would be more cost effective than having to deal with loads of abandoned cats and dogs. Some breads should not be allowed to bread anymore like pugs, with breathing difficulties.

Submitted by John Anthony Jefferys on 10 Jan 2022
If the pets are now legally a family member does that mean that landlords can no longer discriminate against pets when letting houses or flats?

Reply by Nick Nutter:
Good question, but no idea.