THE new Animal Welfare Law, pending on final approval by the Junta, will lay down rules to provide greater protection to dogs, cats, ferrets and other pets in the region.

This new law, which will replace the previous one in force since 2003, will imply a change of focus in the treatment of pets in cracking down on animal neglect, improving animal protection and encouraging responsible pet ownership.

This new regulation is also set to guarantee that abused women who go to a shelter or reception flat for the homeless can take their pets with them. In the event that it is not possible for pets to live with them, the law will ‘guarantee that they maintain a relationship.’

The new Animal Welfare Law is extensive and will cover aspects related to minimal sanitary conditions, transport, vaccinations and identification, to name but a few.

The main additions to the new law cover the following:

  • The reproduction, breeding and sale of pets between private individuals without a breeding licence is prohibited.
  • No animals may be given away as a prize in a raffle, including the goldfish usually given out at fairgrounds to the winners.
  • It is forbidden to leave an animal tied up or locked up on a balcony, terrace, rooftop or storage room.
  • No household may have more than five pets. Households with more than five pets will need a kennel permit.
  • Dogs must always be kept on a leash except in designated dog parks.
  • Potentially ‘dangerous dogs’ will continue to have to wear a muzzle.

The Royal Canine Society of Spain (RSCE) is calling for the removal of compulsory sterilisation from the future law, considering that this measure will lead to the disappearance of these pets in the long term. In addition, according to the RSCE, early sterilisation can be detrimental to health.

The draft law also implies that there can only be professional breeders, leaving out any legal framework for family and amateur breeders which represent more than 75% of purebred dogs in the region.

There are currently 2.56 million pets registered in Andalucia, on average 8 out of 10 households are pet-owning in the region.

Of these, the vast majority, 2.33 million, are dogs, Cats account for 213,000 pets in Spain’s southernmost region and ferrets, which some people keep at home as pets, number 10,885.

By provinces, Malaga tops the list as the province with most pets registered (480,783), followed Sevilla (469,654).

The fewest are in Huelva (158,793) and Almeria (176,366), although these are also the least populated areas in Andalucia.

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