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Legal obligations of pet owners

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Have you got a pet or are you thinking about bringing one into your home?

 If so, then this article will help to answer any doubts or queries you may have regarding the legal obligations of being a pet owner in Spain. 

As the general Spanish population, including expats, are increasingly taking the leap of adding furry members to their family home and with the new Animal Welfare Law coming into force as of 28th September 2023, we feel it is important that everyone is well informed in order to avoid any nasty surprises, whether that be from the authorities or to your pockets should your beloved pet become ill or suffer an accident. 

Pets come in all shapes and sizes with dogs being the most common family pet and, even today, many are obliged by law to have liability insurance due to their breed, characteristics, or even weight and height. However, once the new Animal Welfare law comes into force in September, ALL dogs, no matter what their breed or characteristics will be obliged to have liability insurance.  

What is liability insurance?

Liability insurance is the most basic pet insurance available, and it covers damages caused by your pet to a third party. This could be an injury to another person or animal and destruction of or damage to another person’s property. 

Is this the only insurance I need?

If you are a dog owner, from the 28th September 2023 you are obliged by law to have this kind of insurance. Until then, only dog owners of certain breeds and/or characteristics must have this. Notwithstanding, there are other types of pet insurance that will give you peace of mind when it comes to covering their veterinary care expenses. Sadly, our furry loved ones get sick and age just like we do, and veterinary care does not come cheap. We will go into this shortly but, firstly, let’s take a brief look into why liability insurance is so important. 

Art. 1905 of the Spanish Civil Code states the following: 

“With regard to liability for damage caused by animals, it is stipulated that the owner of an animal, or the person responsible for said animal, is liable for the damage caused, even if it has escaped or strayed”. 

This is why, even today, before the new legislation has come into force, liability insurance is a must have. Most of us are responsible pet owners but, to give you an example, if you do not have this kind of insurance and your pet escapes and unfortunately causes an accident or hurts another dog or person, then you will be liable for all the damages caused from your own pocket. With liability insurance, all of these expenses would be covered for you. 

Now, let’s take a look at the different kinds of pet insurance available on the market that will cover the legal obligations of being a pet owner as well as saving you hundreds or even thousands of euros in veterinary care costs. You will have peace of mind knowing that all of that is covered and your beloved pet can receive full veterinary care and assistance should they need it. Here are the three main options: 

  1. Pet insurance: covering accidents and/or veterinary health care due to illness. Other coverages can include theft, loss, euthanasia and removal of the body, placement in a kennel due to the death or hospitalisation of the owner, spouse or children, and legal defence. Liability insurance can also be added.
  2. Home insurance: through your home insurance, you also have the possibility of adding pet liability insurance and insurance in case of accidents.
  3. Pet liability insurance: for those who just want to have the costs covered should their pet be liable for someone else’s injuries or damage to their property or pet.

What kind of pets can I insure?

The two existing pet insurance plans on the market are: 

  1. Cats and dogs
  2. Exotic animals (rodents, birds, ferrets, etc.)

What are the requirements to insure my pet?

Both cats and dogs must be vaccinated, microchipped, registered on the local census and be in a general good state of health. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you wish to take out the best and most suitable pet insurance in Spain. 

For further information or legal advice about the new Animal Welfare Law, please do not hesitate to contact Pellicer & Heredia on +34 965 480 737 or email us at info@pellicerheredia.com

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