UPDATE: Avoiding fines under Spain’s new Animal Welfare Law when transporting animals in the car

Image of a family travelling with a dog in the car.

Image of a family travelling with a dog in the car. Credit: Soloviova Liudmyla/Shutterstock.com

UPDATE: Tuesday, October 24 at 9:50 pm

WITH Spain’s new Animal Welfae Law now in force, owners should be aware of the requirements when travelling with any type of pet in their vehicles.

Regardless of whether their car is prepared to transport animals or not, motorists must meet a series of strict criteria when travelling with a dog, cat or other pet. Failure to do so could result in an unwanted fine.

Since the law was introduced, the DGT has been keeping a close eye on the movement of animals in vehicles. There are certain points of mandatory compliance that must be followed.

These include always carrying the relevant documentation of any animal that is travelling the car and providing them with sufficient space during the trip.

How much space must an animal be given?

One of the points of this new regulation indicates that pets travelling in the car must have enough space to meet its physiological needs.

Confining animals in a relatively small space should be avoided at all costs. If the pet travels a carrier then injuries must be avoided, either due to the quality of the container itself, or its size.

Drivers must also guarantee certain basic measures to the animals they are transporting. The vehicle must have an adequate ventilation and air conditioning system so that the heat or cold does not greatly affect the pet. Rest stops must also be made periodically so that they can rest.

Finally, the driver must have enough water and food to meet the animal’s needs for the duration of the journey, taking into account their size and breed.

What if a pet has to travel with somebody who is not its owner?

If for any reason, the pet has to travel with a person who is not its owner, the person in charge of them must carry the relevant documentation proving that they are responsible for them.

In the event that a pet does travel with its owner, the other person’s car must also be adapted for the transport of the animal, with the corresponding integrated systems.

How should pets be transported safely?

The safest of all methods of securely restraining an animal in the car is a partition separating the passenger compartment from the luggage compartment. If they do not wish to install such a device, then the pet should be transported in a carrier in the luggage compartment.

If a dog, cat or other pet cannot be carried in the back of the car, its size should be taken into account. If it is large, it should ideally be carried in the rear seats with the seat belt fastened across the seat.

When it is smaller, it can be carried behind the front seats. However, they should never be left unrestrained in the vehicle.


UPDATE: Saturday, September 30 at 5:19 pm

UNDER the new Animal Welfare Law, owners will be permitted to take their dogs inside restaurants with them.

However, it is important to note that all restaurants have been given the option of prohibiting such entry of pets. In this instance, the establishment has the obligation to place a sign outside that informs customers of this fact.

Before deciding to take a dog to a new restaurant it is advisable to call in advance to check whether they allow pets. If the restaurant accepts pets, it is important to follow the following rules:

• The dog must be on a short leash.

• The dog must be clean and well cared for.

• The dog must not disturb other customers

If the restaurant owner believes that a dog does not comply with these rules, then they are within their rights to ask the owner to leave with the pet.


UPDATE: Saturday, September 30 at 0:29 am

UNDER the terms of Spain’s new Animal Welfare Law, certain activities or habits that pet owners have gotten used to in the past could now result in them being fined.

Officially called  Law 7/2023, of March 28, on the protection of the rights and well-being of animals, this new legal framework implies new obligations and duties for anybody who owns a pet and was published in the BOE this Friday 29.

Among the things no longer permitted is an owner leaving their dog tied up outside a supermarket or any other establishment while they pop inside to do some shopping.

As specified in section d) of Article 27, the Law states that it is expressly prohibited to keep pet animals: ‘tied or wandering through public spaces without supervision in person by the person responsible for their care and behaviour’.

Failure to comply with this rule and other prohibitions and obligations contained in the new legislation can result in a fine being issued.

According to the framework of this new Law, Article 73 states that leaving a dog in this way is classed as a minor infraction and can be punished with a fine of between €500 and €10,000.

This is the table of sanctions applied by the Animal Welfare Law:

• Minor infractions can attract simply a warning or a fine of €500 to €10,000.

• Serious violations carry a fine of €10,001 to €50,000.

• Very serious infractions involve a fine of €50,001 to €200,000.


Friday, September 29 at 10:11 pm

THE new Animal Welfare Law finally came into force in Spain this Friday, September 29.

However, confusion still reportedly exists among pet owners after an ambiguous announcement made 10 days ago by the Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2023, stated that not every part of this law would be implemented on the first day.

In its circular, the department generated confusion as to whether the mandatory civil liability insurance would be enforced today or not. At the time, it stated: ‘in pure legal terms, it is not effectively applicable until the Regulation is developed’.

The General Directorate of Insurance (DGS) issued a circular

As a result, following complaints of lack of clarity made by the Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU), the General Directorate of Insurance (DGS) has issued another circular, as reported by lasprovincias.es.

It stated: ‘Insurance will not be mandatory until regulatory development occurs, unless, by regional or local regulations or by the activity of use where the dog may be involved, it is determined otherwise’.

That is to say, dogs that were already covered will continue to be covered by home insurance, except in the case of potentially dangerous breeds or regulations that require compulsory and specific civil liability insurance.

In the latter cases – and to give an indicative price range – for civil liability of €300,000, the annual premium would vary between €50 and €90 euros, with an excess ranging from €150 to €300 the news outlet reported.

Certain regulations are still to be approved

As for the future regulation, in an explanatory statement published today by the OCU, the organisation demanded that it be finalised as soon as possible. The entity considered it to be vital that the civil liability capital for a dog should be equal to that of a car.

That would be around €70 million for personal injury and €15 million for material damage, and also in the regulation for potentially dangerous breeds, where the minimum is only €120,000.

This is because although the probability of a serious accident with a dog is lower than with a car or motorbike, the consequences could be the same, stressed the OCU.

The OCU denounced the confusion surrounding the new law

On Thursday 28, the OCU denounced the ‘confusion’ surrounding the mandatory civil liability insurance for dogs established by the new Animal Welfare Law.

For the moment, the new law will not make it mandatory to take out insurance for dog ownership (except for breeds that are classified as potentially dangerous) or take the course on responsible ownership of dogs and cats.

They will remain in the air until a new Government is formed since their interim status does not yet allow the regulation of the law to be approved.

Until this new law came into being, only owners of a dog of a potentially dangerous breed – in addition to residents in communities such as Madrid and the Basque Country, where relevant laws already apply – were required to take out civil liability insurance for their dog.

The OCU suggested on Thursday that from the moment that insurance becomes compulsory: ‘Private liability insurers could interpret that their cover is cancelled. This entails a risk for the owner of a dog that causes damage to other people, animals, or objects, as they could end up assuming part or all of the cost of civil liability’.

‘A risk that also extends to the victim in the event that the owner is not solvent’, they pointed out, reported lasprovincias.es.

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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 editorial@euroweeklynews.com