Shops that sell cats, ferrets and dogs will have to stop selling them, because they can only be purchased from a breeder. | Eduardo Parra / Europa Press


The new law against domestic animal abuse, which came into force this Friday at half speed pending regulation, includes a list of obligations and penalties of up to 200,000 euros as well as prohibitions such as leaving pets unsupervised, using them in public shows or subjecting them to excessive work.

These are some of the key points of the new law:

  • What will be banned?

The mistreatment and abandonment of pets will be prohibited in Spain. For the time being, a dog ownership course and civil liability insurance will not be compulsory, pending a regulation that has not been approved because the government is in office.

The regulation prohibits the slaughter of pets in animal protection centres and they may not be slaughtered for lack of space or for economic reasons.

Euthanasia will be allowed under veterinary criteria when the animal's welfare is compromised.

  • Where can pet dogs be bought?

Shops that sell cats, ferrets and dogs will have to stop selling them, because they can only be purchased from a breeder; the regulation includes a transitional period of twelve months for establishments to adapt.

  • How much are the penalties?

The law establishes financial penalties ranging from 500 to 200,000 euros depending on the seriousness of the infringement.

  • What is the aim of the law?

The law is aimed at protecting domestic animals and wild species that are under human care; the objective is to prevent mistreatment and abandonment and to promote responsible adoption and ownership.

  • Which animals are excluded?

The regulation excludes hunting dogs and dogs from other professional activities.

  • When was it published in the Official State Gazette (BOE)?

Half a year ago; last 28 March.

  • What is considered to be a pet animal?

In addition to dogs, cats and ferrets, those included in a list drawn up by the Ministry of Social Rights, as well as production animals that have been registered by their owners as pets.

  • Can pets be left alone?

Pets may not be left unattended for more than three consecutive days; in the case of dogs, the time limit is shorter, no more than 24 consecutive hours.

  • What other obligations will owners be required to fulfil?

Identify their pets, ensure health services, use a professional animal behaviourist when there are problems of coexistence, avoid indiscriminate reproduction or handle them with methods that do not cause them suffering.

  • What species will be allowed in households?

A list will contain the permitted household species.

  • What is an offence?

It is a serious offence to use animals as a reward, prize, raffle or promotion, or to use them as an unauthorised advertisement.

Likewise, abandoning one or more animals, failing to report the loss or theft of the animal and permanently leaving dogs or cats on terraces, balconies, rooftops, storage rooms, basements, patios and similar areas or in vehicles.

The training and use of animals for fighting and quarrelling with other animals or people is considered a very serious offence.

Also the breeding, trade or exhibition of animals for commercial purposes by unauthorised persons or the sale of dogs, cats and ferrets in pet shops.

Circuses will cease to use wild animals in captivity in their shows; they will have a transitional period of six months to modify their activity and hand over their animals to wild animal recovery centres or other places that guarantee their welfare.

It will be forbidden to use the animals on an itinerant basis, although this does not mean that the right of homeless people to live with their pets will be maintained.

It shall also be prohibited to subject animals to inappropriate or excessive work in terms of time and intensity.

No device, mechanism or utensil may be used that limits or impedes the animal's mobility except by veterinary prescription in the interests of its welfare.

  • What will happen to cat colonies?

The law obliges local councils to control community cats through the management of cat colonies.

The aim is to control the population of all community cats in order to progressively reduce their population and protect them as pets.

They will be censused, identified, sterilised and their health and diet will be monitored to improve their living conditions and coexistence with their environment.