Dogs will now be allowed to travel on the Madrid Metro from Wednesday 6th July.
Great news for dog owners in the city! In a statement on their website published today, 5th July, Metro de Madrid have said that they will now allow dogs to travel accompanied by an owner under the following conditions:
- only one dog per person will be allowed
- all dogs must wear a muzzle and a leash which is no longer than 50cm
- dogs must be microchipped (as is a legal requirement)
- dogs must travel in the last carriage of the train
- dogs must not use the escalators, for safety reasons, but are allowed in the elevators and stairways
- dogs will travel at no extra cost
- the passenger will be responsible for the dog
The rules will apply not only on the train, but in the stations too, until the passenger and dogs have exited. They also ask that passengers with dogs do not block exits or doors, and avoid extreme crowding for the dog’s sake as much as other passengers.
Dogs will not be allowed to travel during rush hours; Monday to Friday 7:30-9:30am, 2-4pm, 6-8pm. During the weekends, and on holidays, there are no time limitations.
It’s wonderful to see that Metro de Madrid has listened to the requests of their passengers and that Madrid is now climbing the dog-friendly city ladder like so many other cities including Barcelona, Brussels, London, Lisbon and Berlin.
Before this date, small pets were allowed to travel, but only in a “receptáculos idóneos” (suitable containers), a choice of wording which caused a lot of issues between pet-owners and Metro personnel as whether or not a carrier was deemed “suitable” appeared to be up to the discretion of the employee. Guide dogs were also allowed as long as they were wearing a harness or jacket which identified them as such.
The Asamblea de Madrid (Madrid government) have proposed banning the display of cats and dogs in pet shops in the province.
The change in the Law for Protection of Companion Animals in Madrid, which will be debated on the 14th July, proposes the ban, suggesting instead the sale of pets via a catalogue system or similar means. Pet shops will no longer be allowed to keep cats and dogs on display as is currently commonplace. This means the end of cages full of puppies and kittens prompting impulse buying and purchasing without researching decent breeders. In many pet shops, the heat in the glass cases can soar to unbearable temperatures, and animals are sometimes left without water. Last summer, in La Gavia’s HobbyZoo I told the shop assistant that I noticed the puppies in the window didn’t have any water. I was told that they had knocked over the bowl, and that they had to learn a lesson from it. I refused to leave the shop until the bowl was refilled.
Although the shops will not be banned from selling pets, the customer will have to go through the internet, or a catalogue system, which means that the dogs and cats don’t have to physically be kept in the shops.
The amendment was submitted for consideration by the Ciudadanos political party, and was supported by the PSOE and Podemos, and voted against by the PP. The details of the change are yet to be determined, as are the species to be banned from the shops. It’s unsure yet if the ban will stretch to chinchillas, ferrets, hamsters, birds, even fish, or if it will just apply to cats and dogs.
Although this is a step forward, we still have a long way to go. Hopefully without those begging eyes pleading through the glass, owners will be less likely to impulse buy, which will hopefully in turn reduce the rate of abandonment in the province as the pounds and rescues are already far beyond breaking-point. Many pet shops are supplied by puppy farms, and are notorious for selling sick puppies or puppies who are too young to be away from their mother and siblings which can lead to future problems with health, behaviour and socialisation issues. Buying from a pet shop also means that the puppy has no medical history, or confirmation of health tests undergone on the parents. Often, although the shops sell the dogs or cats as purebred, no pedigree is available, which means the parents and breeders are untraceable.
While I will never recommend buying a pet over adopting, here’s hoping that the law will encourage people to purchase responsibly from reliable breeders who put the animals’ welfare first.