By Chris King •
Updated: 07 Apr 2023 • 18:33
Image of cute kittens.
Spain’s new Animal Welfare Law has been published in the Official State Gazette (BOE) and the countdown to its entry into force on 29 September now begins. In the meantime, all guardians of dogs, cats, and other pets should inform themselves about the new legislation and make the necessary changes so as not to breach it when the time comes.
One of the rules brought about by this new legislation is the compulsory sterilisation of cats living in the home. It was already announced a year ago that the new law would lead to greater sterilisation in general, but in the case of cats, it has been accentuated.
This measure is driven by the data on pet abandonment in Spain that the Affinity Foundation prepares and presents each year. The latest report detailed that unwanted litters were the main reason for abandonment in our country in 2021 and the second in 2020.
This figure is related to litters of cats that are produced in an uncontrolled manner due to the lack of sterilisation and the freedom that many owners offer their animals to leave the home, despite how dangerous it can be for cats to wander around outdoors, as reported by 20minutos.es.
For this reason, one of the purposes of this law is the promotion of identification and sterilisation campaigns, responsible breeding and sale, among others. It is aimed at preventing animal abandonment and unwanted litters.
Article 26, concerning specific obligations with regard to pets, establishes that, in addition to identification by microchip, it will be compulsory to carry out: “the surgical sterilisation of all cats before the age of six months, except those registered in the identification register as breeding animals and in the name of a breeder registered in the Register of Pet Breeders”.
Furthermore, as regards the obligations of the public animal protection centres, cats – as well as dogs and ferrets – will have to be delivered sterilised or with a sterilisation and non-breeding commitment if they are not old enough or do not have the necessary conditions to undergo surgery, according to veterinary criteria.
There is nothing new in this, as most associations and animal shelters already present puppies and adult cats with the sterilisation already done or with a signed document of commitment to sterilisation by the adopter.
If, instead of opting for adoption, a person opts for purchase or transfer, they will still be obliged to sterilise it in the first six months. Or, if wanted for breeding purposes, they must register it as a breeder and also include their name in the Register of Pet Breeders. If the animal has already passed its first six months of life, it will have to be given to a new owner already sterilised.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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