Dogs may not be tied up in front of a store, and cat owners must sterilize their animals: A new law has been passed that has the whole country discussing what is allowed and what is now prohibited.
The new law had only been in effect for a few hours when the first violation was reported. A woman in Vigo, Galicia, allegedly tied her Dalmatian outside a pharmacy to pick up a pair of indoor slippers. Local media reported that this resulted in her being fined 500 euros.
The police later denied filing a complaint. In any case, this incident reflects the desperate confusion among millions of pet owners since the Animal Welfare Act came into force three weeks ago. Every day the media and Internet users discuss what is allowed and what is forbidden now.
One thing is certain: tying up dogs in front of shops and supermarkets, even if just for a few minutes, is now a crime deserving of penalties. The same applies to animals in the car. Dogs are also not allowed to stay alone in the house for more than 24 hours, and cats are allowed to stay alone for three days. All pets, including parrots, reptiles and rodents, must also be registered and tagged with microchips or rings. Animal owners must complete courses and obtain insurance. And: Individuals must sterilize their cats without exception.
“The law helps no one”
In order not to discriminate against any of the 9.3 million Spanish dogs, the law abolishes the classification of dangerous breeds, and in the future there will be a kind of social compatibility test on an individual basis. Municipalities are now also obligated to care for stray animals. Wild cats must be counted, identified, sterilized, and their health and nutrition checked.
The ambitious 54-page law comes from the Ministry of Social Rights. The responsible minister, Ione Pillara, from the left-wing Unidas Podemos party, is known for her extreme initiatives: these days she is calling for Israeli President Netanyahu to be indicted for genocide at the International Criminal Court.
A representative of the animal protection organization Semper Elephant even complained in a local newspaper: “The law does not help anyone.” The number of abandoned dogs is currently increasing “because people do not want to bear the costs or obligations required by the new regulation.” Representatives of the conservative Popular Party described the law as a “failure.” Hundreds of scholars also spoke against it in a petition.
A fine of up to 10,000 euros
In many places, regional and local governments now refuse to enforce these regulations. The Toledo city councilor in charge said over the radio that she is not currently imposing any fines. Except for obvious and eye-catching crimes, implementing the new law is extremely complex.
Criticisms also stem from the fact that the law sets some well-intentioned requirements for pets, but does not cover the rest of the animal world. The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for livestock, while bullfighting is the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture. Following protests by hunters, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also removed hunting dogs from the list.
In this way, it is likely that many dog owners will still tie their ‘mascota’ in front of the vegetable shop. However, according to the new Animal Welfare Law, the fine can reach 10,000 euros.