A law that came into force in Spain earlier this year recognises dogs and cats as living beings endowed with sentience and no longer considered as chattels. This Spanish law is accompanied by changes in three different laws: Civil Code, Penal Code and Mortgage Law. The changes mean that animals cannot be seized, mortgaged, abandoned, mistreated or taken away from one of their owners in the event of separation or divorce. In the case of a couple divorcing in Spain, a judge may regulate the shared custody of the animals, establishing a regime to cover the expenses of the pet or modifying the conditions of their care. He or she may also establish an equitable division of the care of the animals. In addition, parents may be prohibited from having visitation when one of them is subject to criminal proceedings for attempting to harm the life, phys ical integrity, liberty, moral integrity or sexual indemnity of the other spouse or children.
NEW L AW IN SPAIN RECOGNISES PETS AS SENTIENT BEINGS
ARTICLE BY WELEX LAWYERS & ACCOUNTANTS
Future changes to pet law envisage that animals will be included in wills drawn up in Spain, and be given to the heirs if not specifically mentioned in the will. In addition, other changes under consideration include a ban on the slaugh ter of animals without medical reasons, a ban on animals in circuses, an end to the sale of animals in shops, and a ban on private breeders, with only professionals being allowed to breed animals.
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