The rules governing pets and their import differs according to the kind of pets you propose to import. In general, a pet can be imported into Spain if:

It is accompanied by it’s owner or his/her representative

It has a certificate of origin and health if it is more than three months old

The certificate states that the pet has been under the supervision of the owner for a period of three months prior to importation

The certificate provides a declaration that the pet is not intended for trade

Where it is proposed to import a dog, the certificate should state that the dog has received anti-rabies inoculation and that the inoculation remains valid.

The inoculation must have taken place in the last twelve months, although in certain cases this is reduced to six months. A certificate can be obtained from the Animal Health Divisional Office.

Birds, monkeys and other species will need a certificate stating that there has been no local outbreak of disease that would affect the species for the last 60 days.

If you wish to take your pet back to the U.K. you will need to ensure you comply with the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). If you do not comply with PETS it may be necessary for your animal to go into quarantine.

Obligatory chipping of pets was introduced in March 2006 and covers dogs, cats and ferrets (!). In the Málaga province, some 130,000 have thus far been registered by the 311 vets qualified to install the microchips. From October onwards, owners who do not chip their pets will be liable to a fine of between €500 and €2,000.

New in February 2008

The Junta de Andalucía approved new regulations relating to dangerous or exotic pets considered to pose a threat either to people or the environment.

The national law on dangerous animals (law 30/1999) was actually introduced in 1999 but does contain loopholes. The Junta de Andalucia, concerned about the proliferation of dangerous pets, is effectively plugging a loophole.

The new regulations cover such pets as crocodiles, alligators, lions, snakes, primates and various amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

Anyone possessing:

  • Adult Crocodiles, Alligators or other reptiles weighing in excess of 2 kilos
  • Amphibians, arthropods (includes spiders, scorpions, snakes, crustaceans etc) and fish whose bite can cause significant harm to humans
  • Adult primates and wild mammals weighing in excess of 10 kilos
  • Carnivorous creatures weighing in excess of 5 kilos

will have a period of six months to hand them in to the appropriate public facilities or officially sanctioned private facilities. Fines for non-compliance are up to €115,000 depending upon the severity of the case.

The six month moratorium gives both the owners time to say goodbye to their pets but also allows time for the various provincial authorities to provide the necessary facilities for handling all the different kinds of creatures.

At present, the infrastructure required for dealing with such a variety of species is somewhat lacking. Málaga, for example, has only one suitable centre at the present time, an unofficial SEPRONA facility.

The new decree is expected to be published in about two weeks.

There is also a series of changes to the laws regarding what are deemed to be dangerous dogs. The legislation includes those species covered by the state law (Staffordshire Terrier, Pit Bull Terrier, Rottweiler, Argentinian Dogo, Brazilian Fila, Toso Inu and Akita Inu) and adds the Doberman to the list. In addition, there is a new category and regulations relating to animals which have been trained to attack.

In both cases, dangerous or attack-trained, these are only allowed on public thoroughfares if controlled by an adult, are attached by a one metre long unbreakable lead and are muzzled.

Such animals are not permitted in areas of leisure used by minors, such as parks and school yards, and the dog owners must, at all times, carry a Documento Autonómico de Identificación y Registro Animal (Animal Identity and Registration Document. No adult is permitted to walk more than one of these dogs at any one time.

Owners of such dogs will need a special license from the local authority. The owner must be an adult, comply with physical and psychological requirements by means of testing, have no felony convictions and must take out third party insurance to the value of €175,000.

The dangerous breeds themselves must undergo a training course and, in view of their inherent aggressiveness, may not be trained to attack.