Hugh: Spain Makes Pets Legal Members of the Family

Published on January 17th, 2022 @ 6:20 PM


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This month, legislators in Spain made it official – pets are members of the family. I don’t think many people would fight back against this one, but the law has been months in the making, and will go into effect January 25th. Now, what are the implications of this change? Well, that’s where the headline gets less cute. Primarily, it will determine custody of the animal as well as costs for care when couples with pets get divorced. The law also means that anyone who finds a lost animal must return it to the owner unless there are clear indicators of neglect or abandonment. The person who returns the pet would also be legally entitled to compensation for its care in the meantime. Excluded from the law are animals from livestock, recreational, or industrial farms, who are not considered companion pets. If you’re reading this article, there’s a chance now is the first time you’ve heard of such a law, but Spain is actually behind the times in Europe when it comes to similar legislation. Portugal introduced the measure in 2017, France in 2015, and Germany in 1990.

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