Welex, a professional team of lawyers and accountants in La Costa del Sol, is pleased to explain in a few lines the new Animal Welfare Law in Spain and its sanctions.

On the 9th of February the new Animal Welfare Law was approved in Spain. This new law establishes a series of measures to guarantee the protection of animals and sanctions for those who violate them.

Below, you will find the most important measures of this new animal welfare law in Spain.

1. Compulsory course.

One of the main measures is the compulsory course that all dog owners will have to take in Spain.

It will be an online course, which must be taken by anyone who wishes to adopt a dog, and those who already own a dog will have a period of two years to take the course.

During the course, dog owners will have to answer a series of test questions to assess whether or not they know the minimum requirements for dog ownership in Spain.

It has not yet been established what will happen if the dog’s guardian does not pass this course.

At the same time, and since the category of “potentially dangerous dogs” has been eliminated, our little friends will have to pass a “sociability test”, where they will be examined individually.

In principle, dogs weighing more than 10 kilos will have to take the test.

In the event that the dogs do not pass the obedience and behaviour test, they will have to go out on the street with a muzzle and on a short leash, until they pass the tests after passing through the hands of a trainer.

2. Civil liability insurance.

In addition, owners of these pets must take out liability insurance in Spain to cover any damage their pet may cause to other dogs or people.


3. Time that a pet can be left alone at home.

The period of time that your pet may be left alone at home is also regulated.

In the case of dogs, they may not be left alone for more than 24 hours and in the case of cats, for 3 days.

Dogs may not be left inside the car and pets must be allowed to rest indoors.

As an exception, herding and working dogs may be left unattended for longer periods, as long as they have a geolocation device and shelter.


4. Sale of dogs, cats and ferrets in Spain

Another aspect of this law is concerning pet shops and kennels. In the case of pet shops, the sale and exhibition of dogs, cats and ferrets is prohibited, and the animals may not be displayed in shop windows.

Breeders must have a licence to carry out this activity. In the case of unregistered individuals, breeding will be considered illegal.


5. What about hunting animals in Spain?

One of the most controversial issues is that animals for hunting and experimentation, working dogs and species considered as non-pet species are excluded from this Spanish law.

What are the possible sanctions in Spain in case of non-compliance?

Fines will be applied depending on whether the infringements are considered:

o Minor infringements, with fines ranging from 500 euros to 10,000 euros:

  • Leaving the animal inside the locked vehicle and exposed to life-threatening weather conditions.
  • Leaving the animal unsupervised for three consecutive days, in the case of dogs for more than 24 hours.
  • Failure to take out civil liability insurance.
  • Failure to report the loss of the animal within a maximum period of 48 hours, after this period, it is abandonment.
  • Not sterilising dogs that have uncontrolled access to other dogs.
  • Leaving animals tied up or allowing them to roam in public spaces without supervision by their guardian.

o Serious offences, with fines of between 10,001 euros and 50,000 euros, include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Theft, theft of an animal
  • Abandonment of animals
  • Failure to comply with animal identification obligations.
  • Unauthorised use of aggressive training methods.
  • Unauthorised body mutilations.


O  Finally, the following will be considered very serious offences, with fines of between 50,001 euros and 200,000 euros, among others:

  • Assisted killing of animals by inappropriate means or by persons not qualified to do so.
  • Training and use of animals for fighting.
  • The use of pets for human consumption.
  • Breeding, trade or exhibition of animals for commercial purposes by unauthorised persons.
  • The use of animals in prohibited activities (fairs, circus shows, mechanical attractions, etc.).
  • The use of genetic selection of pet animals leading to the deterioration of their health.
  • As well as committing more than one serious offence within a period of three years.

Finally, the date of entry into force of this law has not yet been determined.

If you need advice on this new law, or on any other tax or legal matter, please contact our law firm in Marbella.