Palma.—The figures for fines on dog owners during the first nine months of this year are similar to those registered during the same period in 2010, a Local Police spokesman said yesterday.

The spokesman added that in fact police have had to take action in animal-related incidents on 364 occasions so far this year.
The most common reason for fining pet owners during this period, he confirmed, has been for not having proper documentation registering eligibility to own a pet (39); whilst 37 people were fined because their pets didn't have a microchip identifying its owner (37). It is likely, said the spokesman, that both these categories of fines would have doubled up on one another, meaning that a pet owner guilty of one misdemeanour would probably be responsible for the second.

Meanwhile, 17 people had fines imposed because their dogs were causing a nuisance to neighbours. However, Local Police actually intervened in animal nuisance-related incidents much more often than the number of fines suggests. The spokesman explained that residents are much more likely to complain to the police about a noisy or dangerous dog than directly to the animal owners themselves. Hence police action often consisted of acting as mediators in disputes and giving the owners a warning about their pets' behaviour rather than fining them immediately.

For not clearing up excrement after a dog, an owner can be fined 50 euros and if a dog is brought into a restaurant, the fine can soar to 500 euros. There is no fine however, for taking a dog to the beach because - said the spokesman - there is ample watch kept out during the summer and owner responsibility can be pinpointed.

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