THE Spanish government has revealed plans to scrap the existing list of dangerous dogs to eliminate ‘unfair prejudices’ against specific breeds.

National Animal Rights department director Sergio Garcia made the announcement this week during a meeting with the Spanish Royal Canine Society.

Garcia explained that the current Law 50/99 on potentially dangerous animals will be modified to prevent stereotyping specific breeds, instead establishing methods to evaluate the individual behaviour of each animal to check for potential risks.

The proposed legislation also suggests techniques to improve the temper of dangerous animals so that they cease being a threat.

Dangerous Dogs Pitbull Terrier
A pitbull terrier, one of the breeds classed as potentially dangerous

Spokespeople for the Canine Society called on the executive to promote education in animal rights among children and young people, protect endemic species, and reward ethical breeders, among other requests.

Sergio Garcia added that the new law will combine and unify the country’s 17 different regional legislations to create a common framework.

It will also establish professional criteria for services such as stray animal shelters and canine training centres, granting workers official status and allowing owners to choose services ‘with full guarantees’.

Pets will have to be identified before being sold and during the first three months of life, thus keeping a check on breeding.

A national register will be set up to ensure that owners convicted of animal mistreatment will be unable to inscribe any more pets under their name.

Finally, the proposed law plans to modify the Civil Code to recognise animals as ‘sentient beings’ in line with the 2009 Lisbon Treaty and increase penalties for mistreatment, as Spanish legislation currently sets a maximum of 18 months in prison for violence against animals.

The proposal still has to be passed through Parliament.

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