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What are Spain's new rules on owning multiple pets?

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What are Spain's new rules on owning multiple pets?
Spain's new rules on multiple pets. Photo: Carl Campbell / Unsplash

Spain’s new Animal Welfare Law comes into force on September 29th and brings with it a raft of new regulations that affect pet owners.


Spaniards, as well as foreign residents in Spain, are big fans of keeping pets. According to the latest stats from the National Association of Pet Food Manufacturers (ANFAAC), there are a whopping 29 million domestic animals in Spain.

Many even own several dogs and cats at once, but that could soon be about to change. One of the most important points of the new law is that now there will be a limit on the number of pets you’re allowed.

The new rules also affect associations dedicated to the rescue and care of animals in situations of abandonment or abuse.

Pet permit

If you want to own more than five pets, you will need to have a permit or what is called a zoological nucleus licence.

Animal shelters and associations, as well as residences for pets, are considered zoological centres, since these are defined as establishments whose activity is the temporary or permanent accommodation of pets, excluding veterinary centres. 

READ ALSO: What we know about Spain's compulsory course to own a dog 

What happens if I own more than five pets? 

So far, the regulations only refer to a maximum of five dogs and cats, it is still pending as to whether this will include other species such as ferrets, rabbits and rodents for example.

From September 29th it will be necessary to apply for a permit to keep five pets or more from your City Council, who will evaluate each case.

It is likely the decision will be based on a veterinary report attesting to the well-being of the animals, although there is nothing formalised on this yet.  

If you do not apply for a licence and contact the relevant authorities to let them know you have more than five, you may have to pay a fine, which can range from €500 to €200,000.


Types of establishments that can have more than five pets

The new Animal Welfare Law differentiates between various types of animal protection entities. These are:

RAC: Those that carry out rescue, rehabilitation and search for adopters in situations of abandonment or abuse.  

RAD: Those that are dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of animals that are intended for commercial or profit-making purposes.

RAS: Those dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of wild animals from captivity. A different type of zoo licence will be necessary for these.

GCOF: Entities that collaborate in the management of feline colonies.

DEF: Entities dedicated to raising awareness, promoting adoption and legal defense of animals. 

Among these types, only those of the RAC, RAD and RAS types will need to have the zoological nucleus license in order to keep more animals. The others will need different types of permits.


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