PETS ARE NO LONGER JUST 'THINGS' IN SPAIN
THE SPANISH government has taken the first steps to make the necessary changes in legislation to recognise animals as sentient beings, and not 'things' as they are legally considered now.
Three laws will have to be changed for this to happen: the Civil Code, the Mortgage Law and Code of Civil Procedure.
On Wednesday, the Spanish Parliament voted unanimously in favour of a proposal from the Ciudadanos party to change the relevant laws so that animals could be considered as 'sentient beings' - recognising the fact that can feel pain and emotions.
It will take some months before the laws will be changed, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.
So what exactly does this mean for pet owners?
Well, for starters, if you are married and get divorced, the pet doesn't automatically stay with the person who owns it on paper. The judge can take into account who the pet will have a better life with, or he can order shared custody.
In the case of an accident, your pet would be taken care of. Years ago, CBN covered the case of a British couple who suffered a car accident and were taken to hospital; their dog ran off down the motorway after his tail was amputated in the crash. Luckily, later in the day he was picked up by someone who saw him wandering on the road and took him to the Alicante shelter.
In the future, if this happens, without delay, authorities will search for your dog and take him to be treated if he needs it.
Pets or farm animals can no longer be part of bank repossessions if owners default on their mortgage payments. In the past, this has meant that cattle and horses have been left without proper care for months.
Animals and pets cannot be part of any type of embargo on property any more.
At all times, priority will be given to the animal's welfare. Owners will not be allowed to subject their animals to cruelty or abandonment, or cause their death by cruel and unnecessary means.
The text of the new law is based on current European laws where animals are recognised as living, sentient, non-human beings.
Pets have feelings and emotions Photo: C. Pérez