New Animal Protection Laws

On Friday the 18th of February the Board of Ministers approved the Animal Welfare and Protection act that will regulate the relationship with pets.

FTR Animal CrueltyThe main changes are:

• This Law will put an end to the sale of animals in pet stores, as well as their display and exposure to the public for commercial purposes. Only fish may be marketed in these establishments.

Animal breeding is to only be carried out by authorised breeders, and never by individuals. The transmission (for payment or free of charge) of animals can only be done directly by the breeder or by an Animal Protection Agency, without the intervention of intermediaries.

The possible transfer of animals between individuals must be, always free of charge and be reflected by contract. The law also specifies that as necessary measures to prevent the uncontrolled reproduction of companion animals, pets that have access to outside and can come across other animals without being supervised must be sterilised; this must also be done in cases when they are in contact with animals of the same species and of different sex.

• Any type of practice that causes suffering in animals, such as spike collars, electric collars, or the possibility of having them tied to a moving vehicle, is prohibited.

• It will be mandatory to take an accredited training course prior to owning dogs, although the regulations that will set these conditions have not yet been drafted.

• It is prohibited to sacrifice healthy pets, although it could be done for Public-Health reasons or euthanasia.

• The display of wild animals in circuses and fairs or in any type of activity, including advertising is prohibited if these may harm the animal.

• The owners of hunting dogs must register themselves as breeders, and whoever has five or more of these, must be registered as an animal-breeding area.

• The new law modifies the 1999 law in reference to the classification of potentially dangerous dogs. In addition to their physical capacity to cause damage, an examination will be taken into account that will assess the behaviour of each specimen. “Animals of the canine species will only be classified as potentially dangerous after carrying out an individualised sociability study”.

• There will be a new, animal-identification document, similar to the DNI. Throughout 2022, it is expected that all the autonomous communities will join a unified procedure for the digital registration of animals, which will facilitate the implementation of the animal ID.

• A sanctioning regulation is established that contemplates three types of fines, in the minor ones, the fine may be between 500 and 10.000 euros, for the serious ones, between 10.001 and 50.000 euros, and for the very serious ones, between 50.001 and 200.000 euros which include cockfighting for example.

• The Criminal Code will be modified to broaden the penalties for animal abuse. Animal abuse resulting in death will be punished with up to 24 months in prison, and up to 18 months if the abuse requires veterinary care. In addition, the use of animals to coerce or threaten in cases of ‘gender or domestic violence.’

• Mistreatment of other wild vertebrate animals, not only domesticated animals, will also be included as a crime.

• The regulations have left out bullfighting shows, animals bred for production and those intended for experimentation and research.

(Feature: Legal/Animal Cruelty – Velasco Lawyers)

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