The Spanish government’s new animal welfare law, which comes into force on the 29th of September this year, requires all dog owners to insure their animals for third party damages.
Before the new law, only owners of breeds classed as “potentially dangerous”, such as pit bulls, presas canarias, Rottweilers etc, were required to insure their animals. However, the new law has extended this requirement to all dog owners.
As a result, regardless of whether you have a German shepherd or a Yorkshire terrier, a boxer or a Jack Russell, your dog will need to be insured.
The policy required will be of the third-party type, covering injury to other people (and the owner) or property damage caused by dogs. Insurance providers are well aware of the new rule, and several are already offering policies that fulfil all requirements of the law. The price of policies will vary according to the breed, size, age and health of the dog, and many policies will also include health insurance for pets, but some sources have claimed the basic package will range from €30 to €90.
Policies will not be granted unless the dog is registered and chipped, and fines for failing to have insurance will range from €500 to €1,000. However, it is likely that warnings will be issued at first, unless the case is particularly serious.
The new Animal Welfare law will also make it a requirement for all dog owners to take a short course or test to assess their suitability as owners. This should be done within two years of the law coming into force, although details of tests are still not available.
The law also requires all cats to be sterilized unless officially registered as breeding animals. This should be done before they reach six months of age, and the responsibility will usually lie with the supplier. Animal shelters, for example, already insist on sterilization as a condition for adoption. Earlier this year, the Spanish government was criticized for amending the Animal Welfare Bill at the last minute to exclude hunting dogs, but the legislation is still the most important and wide-ranging action on animal rights in Spain for decades.
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