Marisa Moreno Castillo: Animal Rights Law in Spain 2022

Image - Tania__Wild/shutterstock

Image - Tania__Wild/shutterstock

Regular readers will know that I have two rescue dogs, Tara the Galga (greyhound) and Troya the Podenco (Spanish hunting dog) and animal welfare is something that is close to my heart. I am not alone as here in Spain 8 out of 10 homes in Spain have a pet. 

The Animal Rights Law tries to put an end to the mistreatment, abandonment and sacrifice of animals and introduces one of the biggest changes in this legislation: preventing pet animals from being put down or sacrificed except for sanitary and euthanasia reasons. 

The law toughens the penalties for animal abuse that includes all vertebrate animals. In cases of mistreatment with the death of the animal, the sentence can be up to 36 months, with prison sentences and fines that can reach 200,000 euros, in addition to being disqualified for possession and for activities related to animals (breeding, marketing, veterinary assistance, etc) between five and ten years if the infraction is very serious. 

The law changes and considers that no animal is automatically dangerous because of its breed, so dogs must be assessed individually. For this reason, the list of dangerous dogs, which until now existed, is eliminated, but specific training could be required after a study of the sociability of each pet if it shows signs of aggressive behaviour. 

Those who wish to adopt or acquire a pet must first undergo training that guarantees the welfare of the animal. The law also provides that the accommodation must meet the conditions so that they can adequately develop their needs according to their nature. 

All pets must be identified, and the breeding of animals can only be done by registered breeders. The transfer of animals between individuals must be, in any case, free and be reflected by contract. 

Circuses with wild animals and those participating in horseback riding or on stage are prohibited. Dogs, cats, and ferrets are also prohibited from being sold in pet stores, displayed, and exposed to the public for commercial purposes. 

Zoos and dolphinariums will be converted into centers for the recovery of native species, and the use of animals in activities and shows in which they may suffer harm or death will be prohibited. 

The new law has caused some contradictions since hunting dogs have not been included in this law, and because bullfights are not covered by this law. 

“Working” dogs, such as guide or police dogs, will be regulated separately. 

The existence of feline colonies is recognised. Also, the law recognises that the responsibility of caring for community cats, whose “ethical” management – health care or population control plans – is under the jurisdiction of the municipalities. 

Marisa Moreno Castillo. Senior Lawyer with Just Law Solicitors and Consul for Denmark. 

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    • peter hyde

      08 October 2022 • 10:18

      I wouldn’t call this getting tough -1.5 yr prison term and banned for keeping dogs for 3 years -should be banned for life!!

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