Madrid updates their animal welfare laws, including the ban of prong, choke and shock collars

The-greatness-of-a-nation-and-its-moral-progress-can-be-judged-by-the-way-its-animals-are-treated-Mahatma-GandhiOn Wednesday, 10th August, the Comunidad de Madrid released a newsletter with updated laws regarding the treatment of animals in the province.

Among the list of prohibitions is included a ban on using choke, prong, or electric collars that can cause harm to an animal. The usage of these collars is seen as an “infracción grave” (serious offence) and if prosecuted, the owner or handler of the animal can receive fines between €3,001 and €9,000. In extreme cases, the animals can be taken from the owners, and in the case of establishments breaking the law, they can be closed down for up to five years in the case of a minor offence, and between five and ten years for more serious offences.

What will be interesting to see is if establishments like pet-shops and online stores will be allowed to continue selling the tools even though they’ve been made illegal, and if trainers will continue to use them.

The new laws aim to take into consideration the protection and wellbeing of pets and company animals, irregardless of their situation. They also hope to:

a)educate responsible ownership

b)reduce abandonment

c) encourage adoption

d) encourage castration and reduce over-population and abandonment by encouraging responsible purchase, sale and breeding of animals

e) promote educational activities about animal welfare

f) promote volunteering and collaboration between animal rescues and the public

g) educate people about the beneficial role of animals in society

h) encourage animal training

i) create specific dog-friendly areas in all parts of the comunidad, urging all municipalities to provide said spaces

j) allow access to animals in establishments, facilities, transport, and other appropriate spaces, under the control of their handler

k) implement inspections to ensure the compliance with the afore-mentioned laws

l) promote castration and microchipping campaigns, establishing necessary contacts with veterinarians.

Unfortunately, the laws will not apply to animals used in bullfighting spectacles, wildlife, farm animals, zoo animals, or those used for experimentation under specific legislation.

Also prohibited are the following activities: 

  1. killing an animal
  2. abusing an animal
  3. abandoning an animal
    1. the breeding and sale of animals for commercial reasons, without proper permissions
  4. mutilating an animal for any reason other than a medical issue, or for castration, or for future benefits to the animal’s health. In all of the above cases, the procedure must be carried out by a veterinarian. These permitted procedures do not include mutilation for aesthetic purposes (ear cropping, tail docking…)
  5. putting an animal through aggressive or violent training, or preparing them for fighting
  6. Involving animals in fights or any type of aggression, including the organisation of fights or inciting them; allowing or not stopping an animal from attaching a person or another pet.
  7. not giving an animal the basic needs for its wellbeing; feeding them inappropriately, or an inadequate diet, or food that is not authorised for consumption; keeping them in unhygienic or unsanitary conditions where they are not protected from the elements, that don’t provide enough space, or due to the distance or characteristics of the space don’t allow for adequate attention, control and supervision of the animal, at least once a day.
  8. administering substances that can alter the state of health or behaviour of the animal, except in cases covered by current legislation or under veterinary supervision.
  9. keeping an animal permanently tied-up or enclosed or for a time or in conditions that can harm the animal or cause suffering, or keep them isolated from human or animal contact, in the case of them being gregarious species.
  10. possessing an animal without adequately identifying them according to law.
  11. exhibiting animals in leisure premises.
  12. begging with animals.
  13. giving animals as compensation, prizes, or raffling them.
  14. using animals in carousels at fairs.
  15. using animals in fairs, exhibitions, competitions, shows, filming, photo sessions, or cinematography with the intention of publicity or any other similar activity without permission of the City Council in the municipality where the action is taking place.
  16. using animals for filming non-simulated scenes for cinema, television or internet, artistic or publicity reasons, that carry out cruelty, mistreatment, death or animal suffering.
  17. keeping more than 5 animals in one residence when they are cats, dogs, or any other species determined by regulation unless the corresponding City Council authorises it.
  18. keeping animals in stationary vehicles without adequate ventilation and temperature.
  19. permanently keeping an animal in a car.
  20. transporting animals in the boot of a car that has not been specifically designed for the purpose.
  21. transporting animals tied to a moving car.
  22. shooting or attacking animals with any form of a gun or weapon that may put their life at risk. The only exceptions are outlined in the original document in artículo 9.
  23. using choke, prong or electric collars that can cause damage to animals.
  24. keeping animals outlined in the Anexo of the document, except in registered zoos, or in areas specifically authorised by the Comunidad de Madrid.
  25. moving bound animals as a precautionary measure.
  26. using company animals for human or animal consumption.

The article outlines a lot more laws regarding identification, control of breeding and sale of animals, usage of animals etc… It’s definitely worth a look if you speak Spanish. You can find it here.

If the laws are actually implemented, this will be a huge step forward for Spain, a country which up until now has had a questionable past regarding animal rights. For now, let’s keep changing the world, one pawprint at a time.


Doggy-date at Cinesa cinema!

To celebrate the release of “The Secret Life of Pets” or (“Mascotas” in Spanish) Cinesa cinemas, along with Fundación Affinity are holding a special pet-friendly screening of the film!

For the first time, dogs-owners will be allowed to attend the movie with their furry friends.  The screeningwill take place on Friday 5th August at 5:30 in the Sale Cinesa Proyecciones de Madrid, on Calle de Fuencarral, 136.

If the event is a success, Cinesa will consider allowing dogs in other screenings across the country too.

Will your four-legged friend be joining you?


Sleep tight, Sr Perro

This morning while scrolling through my newsfeed, I saw the heartbreaking news that Colega, the smiling schnauzer-cross whose little face and bow-tie grace the doors of so many establishments in Spain, went to sleep for the last time this morning.

After nine years with the loyal canine, Micaela said goodbye to him this morning. Most people know him as Sr Perro, but he was more than that to Micaela. In her heartfelt blog post, she describes him as “mi sombra y mi corazón” (my shadow and my heart). I’ve been lucky enough to meet Micaela and Colega a few times, and when we lived around Lavapiés, whenever you saw Micaela, Colega was sure to be following a few steps behind.

perrosbuenosFor anyone who wasn’t lucky enough to meet this handsome gent, you’d surely recognise his smiling face. His moniker became the symbol of dog-friendly establishments all over Spain, particularly in Madrid. In some spots, your pooch might even be lucky enough to get a refreshing bowl of water with his face on it.

The Sr Perro duo have truly changed the doggy world in Spain for the better, through educating the public and promoting dog-friendly establishments. As dog owners, we owe a lot of thanks to them. Whenever anyone in Madrid Pet Lovers has asked for recommendations on bars, restaurants, hotels, or even things to do in Madrid, we’ve always sent them straight to Sr Perro.

From Doctor Loulittle, and all my furry companions, we want to let Micaela know that we’re thinking of you, and Colega too. Run free over the rainbow bridge, little one.

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 11.53.00
Mango’s always been Sr Perro’s #1 fan
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There’s something special about a schnauzer cross

Madrid Metro to allow dogs from 6th July

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

12004753_10206543413717705_6029783400579627793_nThe 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.



Madrid to ban the sale of live animals in pet shops

Puppies in a pet shop (Flickr)

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.