Our View – Shaggy Dog Story

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MANY Spanish laws which seem a good idea in principle seem to fall at the first hurdle as they are often impossible to enforce except individually.

The latest is the pioneering Animal Welfare Law which comes into force in September and has two major and possibly contentious obligations for dog owners.

Firstly, every owner will be required to obtain third party insurance valid for the lifetime of their pet and the intention is that should their dog be responsible for any injury to another animal or person, there will be an insurance policy in place which will ensure that the victim doesn’t lose out financially.

Certain parts of Spain including Madrid already require owners to have such an insurance which also covers the owner against claims alleging their culpability for misbehaviour by their pooch and cost is currently from around €25 to €100 per annum depending on value of cover purchased.

Introducing such a law and enforcing it are two different things and it seems hardly likely that police officers will stop owners walking their dogs and demand to see proof of insurance.

Even if they did, then lack of insurance basically results in a ticking off and only in the most blatant of offences where a third party is injured is there any likelihood of a fine.

Animal shelters are overflowing with abandoned dogs and now that the new law also requires new owners to pass a ‘dog ownership’ test it hardly seems likely that the number finding forever homes can do anything else but drop.

Many lonely elderly find companionship thanks to a dog but this is just another cost to add to the ever spiralling expense of ownership.

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