THE Valencian parliament has approved a new regional animal welfare bill which is tougher than recently-passed national legislation.
The law imposes penalties of up to €45,000 for the most serious cases of animal abuse while the breeding and sale of pets is restricted to authorised professionals.
Unlike the national law, the new legislation also includes hunting dogs who are classified as pets.
Valencian agriculture minister, Isaura Navarro, said: “We have taken another step towards a more advanced and respectful society that guarantees the rights of animals and makes us a fairer, modern and, above all, protective community.”
Head of AnimaNaturalis in Spain, Aida Gascon, called the Valencian law ‘a step forward which puts the region in the forefront of animal protection’.
The law pursues the notion of ‘zero sacrifice’ for animals and classifies them as ‘sentient beings’ and not just pets.
Adoption is prioritised and the registration and identification of domestic animals will be required, with a period of six months for owners to register them.
Penalties for not having a dog microchipped or not properly caring for a pet will vary between €100 to €3,000.
Other examples of abuse include keeping animals permanently tied up; supplying drugs without veterinary supervision; not giving animals enough food or water; breeding or selling them without a licence; leaving them unsupervised in cars; or training them for fights.
The law specifies that spiked or electric choke collars can only be used by professionals and provides for the creation of a register of people and groups that that have committed infractions or crimes of mistreating animals.
Certain sports activities that involve the cruel treatment of animals are prohibited, as well as travelling circus shows with any type of species.
Bullfighting does not come under the law’s remit and is covered by separate regulations.
Other measures included are the identification of cats and the management of feline colonies and sterilisation to control populations
Cats must be at least one year old before being used to produce litters and cannot eight years, with a minimum period between births of 12 months.
Other measures are a more exhaustive regulation of the implantation of the identification chip or the creation of an advisory and advisory council on the protection of companion animals, with representatives of veterinarians, security bodies and associative entities.