Spanish Government Admits Its Inability To Fully Implement The Animal Welfare Law Yet

Image of various pets.

Image of various pets. Credit: Eric Isselee/

THE Spanish Government has recognised its inability to fully apply the Animal Welfare Law that will come into force on September 29.

It will be implemented six months after its publication in the Official State Gazette (BOE) and as provided in said legal text, officially called Law 7/2023, of March 28, it is designed to protect the rights and welfare of animals.

A circular was distributed to all bar associations in Spain on Thursday 14, by the General Directorate of Animal Rights of the Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2023.

In the document, it admitted that some aspects of the text ‘in the purity of legal terms are not effectively applicable until the regulatory development of said precepts is presented, in accordance with the provisions thereof’, according to

The Government received ‘various queries’ from confused pet owners

The Government is said to have taken this step after acknowledging the receipt of ‘various queries’, from confused and concerned pet owners.

As confirmed by Amparo Requena, the vice president of the Animal Law Section of the Valencia Bar Association (ICAV), there were three aspects of the new law pending specific regulation.

These include:

• The requirement of third-party civil liability insurance that dog owners must contract.

• Training courses for dog owners.

•  The specific identification of animals included in the ‘positive list’, other than the dog, cat and ferret species.

According to the information note released by the ministry, all of the above will be applicable once the aforementioned regulatory development comes into force.

When will that be?

An acting Executive, like the current one, cannot legislate, so until a new President of the Government is elected and a ministerial cabinet is formed, it will not be prepared or approved.

There is also the possibility of a new political party coming into power, in which case the legislative development could all change.

As stated in the circular, the points of the Animal Welfare Law that will not be applied for the time being are:

Liability insurance.

The Animal Welfare Law requires dog owners to contract and maintain civil liability insurance for damages to third parties.

The future regulation should determine, among other things, the type of coverage necessary by type of dog. In the case of potentially dangerous dogs (PPP), there is already a specific rule, from 2002 – and which is still in force – which requires that the minimum coverage be €120,000.

In this case, the ministry advises owners to study regional and local regulations, which in some cases already require this.

Training courses.

The training course to own a dog also needs to be regulated, with the only thing known at the moment is that they will be free of charge and valid indefinitely.

It is intended, according to state law, to: ‘Facilitate correct responsible ownership of the animal, often conditioned by the absence of knowledge in management, care and possession’.

Positive listing.

This applies to the identification of wild species such as birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and fish which are included in the positive list that is to be applied. These include all animals that can be kept at home except for dogs, cats and ferrets.

The scientific and technical committee in charge of resolving, excluding, or including animals on the list also has to be regulated.

This new law gives the Administration a period of two years in which to prepare the list. Species that are not included cannot be kept at home.

If a person has an animal that is not included in the list, they must notify the competent authority within six months. At the moment, none of this will be effective.

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Written by

Chris King

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. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at


    • Upset Resident

      17 September 2023 • 14:27

      This is good news.

      That leaves some time for someone in the Spanish government to realise that this new law is a genocide on all mixed breed dogs (mongrels). My adult life has been enriched with the company of four lovely dogs that have all been adopted from either a kennel or off the street directly. (one of our boys made his way onto our terrace as a baby, and never left).

      I realise that the one of the aims of the law is to prevent owners from allowing their dogs to roam the streets, and produce unexpected pups, but this law creates the environment for their extinction, and it sickens me, to look at my dog and think that he may be among the last of his kind. The worst part of all of that; this is by human design.

      This animal extinction law needs to be revised urgently before it is applied, and I pray that a government with a heart takes office before this properly becomes enforceable.

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