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Protection and Welfare of Animals in Spain

Many of us are pet lovers and would never dream of mistreating an animal, however, not everyone is the same and there are many animals mistreated regularly. A visit to any one of the many animal rescue centers will show you that they are bursting with unwanted or mistreated animals.

Although the rules may differ slightly from region to region in Spain, the majority of rules are generally similar. The central government is responsible for the laws related to wildlife protection whereas the autonomous regions and local town halls create the specific laws for the protection and welfare of animals.

The law for the protection and welfare of animals in Spain covers the general rules applicable to all kinds of animals, the minimum standard of care they should receive. The treatment, sanitation and transport of pets along with regulations related to the sale and trade of animals.

The law also covers the consequences of abandoning animals, as well as collection, euthanasia, sterilization, and standards expected by facilities that will temporarily care for abandoned animals.

In Andalucia, the law (11/2003) for the protection and welfare of animals states the following:

The owner of a domestic animal must keep the animal in a good and sanitary condition.
The owner is responsible, in the event of any harm, damage, or inconvenience caused by their pet.
The law prohibits the abandonment of animals.
The animal must be protected from aggression, dangerous situations or discomfort from other animals or people.
All pets must be registered in your local town hall in the municipal register for pets. The registration documents show that the animal has been inoculated against rabies. The loss of a pet must also be reported to the authorities.
In public, dogs must be fitted with both a collar and a leash at all times. Pets that weigh more than 20 kilograms, and dogs listed as dangerous need to be fitted with a muzzle when in public.
The owner must provide the animal with suitable accommodation in relation to the animals size and species and fed with a diet to maintain a healthy development.
It is strictly forbidden to feed any animal in the street; it is also against the law to deposit food in containers, with the intention of feeding stray animals in public places.
The law forbids keeping a pet permanently attached or confined to a restricted space.
Cats and dogs must be identified with a standard ID microchip by an authorized veterinarian and registered at your local town hall within 3 months of birth. If you move to a different area, your pet must be registered with the new town hall within 1 month of changing residence. Additionally, in the case of death you should de-register your pet within 1 month of death.

Fines for non-compliance of the law (Protection of animals) vary from 75€ to 30,000€. Defiance of the (dangerous dogs act) can incur fines from 150€ to 15,000€. Additionally, sanctions for cruelty to animals are tough. The mistreatment of an animal that results in death, injury or physical impairment can result in a prison sentence, between 3 months and 1 year.

To report cruelty to an animal or any infractions of the law on domestic animal welfare, a report can be made to the local police or government environment protection agency, SEPRONA.

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