The bylaw in Palma to do with animal welfare and ownership has not been updated since 2004. The coordinator at the town hall's department for animal welfare, Josep María Rigo, says that attitudes have changed a great deal over the fourteen years, that animals have more rights and that municipal services have to reflect these.
A revised bylaw is due to be introduced towards the end of this year. One significant aspect of it will have to do with fines. At present, the lowest are between 60 and 300 euros. These will rise to between 300 and 750 euros. For more serious infractions, such as mistreatment, abandonment and not picking up dog mess, there will be a range of fines from 750 to 1,500 euros. The minimum for not removing dog mess from the streets will therefore rise by 450 euros; the present band of fines is 300 to 1,500 euros. There are reckoned to be around 100,000 dogs in Palma, a fifth of which are not registered.
With regard to domestic cats, if these are on the streets as well as in homes, they will have to sterilised. Rigo stresses the importance of sterilisation for controlling the city's cat population. The town hall is meanwhile waiting for the government to pass law that will require cats to be identified (chipped) in the same ways as dogs are meant to be.
The bylaw will also set out new conditions for exotic animals, which in some instances will mean prohibition, and also for potentially dangerous animals.
A limit of 48 hours will be set for how long a dog or cat can be left alone in a property on a balcony or on a terrace. There is currently no limit. Another limit will be on the number of animals permitted in a property. In general, this will be between three and five, and the limit is in response to problems with noise and neighbourly coexistence.
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