Pet owners could face jail sentences. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter


The new law against domestic animal abuse in Spain comes into force Friday, September 29.

The law "will put an end to the impunity of people mistreating animals" and it represents a "progress which corresponds to the sensitivity of our fellow citizens who want, for the most part, to protect" animals.

This law will require “compulsory” training for dog owners, who will also be prohibited from leaving them alone for more than 24 hours.

It also makes the sterilisation of cats compulsory, except on farms, with animal rights associations stressing the importance of birth control in order to avoid abandonment.

The reform of the penal code, which accompanies the law, increases the penalties for mistreatment which can land offenders with up to a year and a half in prison, if the animal requires veterinary care.

This sentence increases to two years if the animal dies, or even three in the event of aggravating circumstances.

Until now, the maximum penalty in case of death of the animal was 18 months in prison.

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These measures apply mainly to domestic animals and do not concern farm animals or hunting dogs.

Bullfighting will also not be affected by the legal changes.

The law also reinforces supervision of pet breeders.

Spain has granted the right to joint custody for pets since the beginning of 2020, who are now considered "living beings endowed with sensitivity" and no longer simply "things".

Several European countries have already modified their civil codes to recognise the living and sensitive nature of animals.

The tougher fines are divided into three groups, with fines of 500 euros or even a prison sentence of one and a half years behind bars. Everything will depend on the seriousness of the offence committed with respect to the new regulatory text.

Minor offences will carry a fine of between 500 and 10,000 euros. In the case of a serious offence, the penalty will be between 10,001 and 50,000 euros. If the sanction is very serious: between 50,001 and 200,000 euros.

If the offence is committed by a repeat offender or if it is proven that the animal has been injured or killed, the person could be sentenced to prison. If the animal is harmed but does not die, the penalty will be between 3 and 12 months imprisonment, while if the pet dies, the penalty will be between 6 and 18 months behind bars.