The interaction and mutual dependence between humans and animals have existed since time immemorial. Throughout history, this relationship has evolved from being purely functional or utilitarian to one where animals are seen as loyal companions and cherished family members.
Published on the «BOE» num. 75, on the 29th March 2023, with a 6-month grace period since its publication to allow for adaptation by both pet owners and entities in the animal field, as from 29th September 2023, the law will come into force.
Pillars of the Law:
Obligations of Owners (Article 26):
- Well-being: Commitment to the physical-emotional balance of animals.
- Living Spaces: Environments in line with health standards.
- Training: Introduction of courses, covering everything from first aid to animal behavior.
Prohibitions (Article 27):
- Surgical Interventions: Limited to medical or therapeutic situations.
- Harmful Activities: All actions detrimental to animals are banned.
Access with pets to transportation, establishments, and public spaces. (Article 29):
- Public and private transport will allow entry of pets that don’t pose risks to people, other animals, or property, subject to public health rules and local regulations. However, taxi drivers and chauffeurs can discretionarily allow pets in their vehicles unless there are justified circumstances. Rail, maritime, and airline operators will ensure transportation of pets under the conditions set by each, adhering to the sanitary and safety standards mandated by law.
- Public and private establishments, including hotels, restaurants, and bars, can allow pets in areas not related to food processing or storage, considering public health standards and specific regulations. If they don’t allow pets, a sign indicating this should be visible outside.
- Unless explicitly prohibited with visible signage, pets are allowed access to public buildings and offices.
- Shelters, care centers, and facilities for individuals facing social exclusion, homelessness, victims of gender violence, and others in similar situations, will allow access to people with their pets, unless there’s a justified reason. If access with pets isn’t possible, partnerships with animal protection entities or fostering initiatives are encouraged.
Ownership of dogs (Article 30):
- Those wishing to be dog owners must demonstrate the completion of a training course for dog ownership, which will have indefinite validity.
- Such training will be free of charge, and its content will be determined by regulation.
- In the case of dog ownership and throughout the life of the animal, the owner must contract and maintain a civil liability insurance for third-party damages, which includes coverage for the individuals responsible for the animal, for an amount sufficient to cover possible expenses derived, which will be established by regulation.
Companion Animal Breeding and Sale (articles 53 to 58):
- Only registered entities can breed companion animals, and breeders must meet specific training and space regulations.
- Registration offers breeders official breeding authorization and access to support. Autonomous communities manage this, but it should be reported to the General State Administration.
- Registered breeders alone can sell specific pets. Sales contracts are mandatory, with animals needing to be healthy, identified, and aged above two months. Buyers must receive information about the pet’s care and characteristics.
- In pet stores, animal interactions are to be supervised in designated areas.
- Online sales of companion animals are forbidden, and ad details must be verified.
- Only identified animals can be adopted or transferred. Adoptions fall under registered protection entities, with particular requirements for treatment, identification, and sterilization. Adoption isn’t a commercial act but can include vet expense compensation.
Penalty categories: (Articles 72 to 75):
Three degrees of offenses are distinguished, with corresponding fines:
- Minor Offenses: Fines vary from 500 to 10,000 euros.
- Examples: Not picking up feces, not keeping the dog on a leash in designated areas, causing minor nuisances.
- Serious Offenses: Fines range between 10,001 and 50,000 euros.
- Examples: Failing to provide basic veterinary care, not identifying the animal, subjecting the animal to inadequate living conditions.
- Very Serious Offenses: Fines in this category range from 50,001 to 200,000 euros.
- Examples: Animal abuse, illegal breeding, involvement in animal fights, abandonment.
Additionally, for those who are repeat offenders of minor violations, a warning may not be an option and fines could be directly imposed. In extreme cases, where the health and welfare of the animal are in grave and imminent danger, a ban on animal ownership may be dictated for the offender.
With this legislation, Spain positions itself as a benchmark in Europe regarding animal welfare. This law highlights not just the responsibility towards animals but also the education and awareness of the public.