Rules on pet care tightened up

Ljubljana – The National Assembly have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a bill that seeks to better protect pet, increase their well-being and enhance the responsibility of their owners. The amendments to the animal protection act were backed on Wednesday in a 87:1 vote.

Presenting the new legislation, Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek said on Tuesday the solutions took into consideration the opinion of the parliamentary majority and various NGOs.

It will be prohibited to tether dogs, except in specific situations such as in the case of guard dogs at farms. Electric collars are being outlawed as well.

Guard dogs at farms will be allowed to be kept on a lead at least five metres long that will allow the dog to move around at least four metres in each direction.

The latter solution will need to be implemented by 1 January 2024.

It will also be prohibited to kill healthy abandoned pets in shelters after 30 days or kill them for their skin. Fur or leather farming has been banned in Slovenia since 2013.

One of the changes is more detailed procedure to trace the origin of dogs to prevent and curb trading in dogs and illicit trade.

It will be mandatory to chip puppies up to the age of eight weeks, and it will be obligatory to state the chip number in sale advertisements.

Chipping of cats will be voluntary to allow owners to prove their ownership.

The new law also provides more detailed provisions governing dangerous dogs and use of shepherd dogs to protect pasturing herds.

In case of a violation, the first measure against the owner will be to subject them to basic training on how to keep a pet.

In case of attacks by wild animals, the dog will not be considered dangerous if it attacks a human in a minor incident.

However, when the dog is found to be dangerous, an appeal will not stay the implementation of the decision.

The amendments also restrict possession of exotic species to protect the life, health and well-being of animals and people’s lives and health and to preserve wildlife.

The cost of care for abandoned animals will be covered by municipalities the first 30 days, then by the owner of the shelter, and from day 120 on, by the state.

In the debate, deputy factions largely lauded the solutions as good and effective, although several MPs noted the important thing would be how owners care for their pets and animals in practice.

Some of the issues highlighted were a lack of oversight and understaffed inspection services, a lack of provisions on pet care in urban areas, as well as a call for improvements for animals reared for food.