Saeima adopts amendments to improve animal welfare and traceability


On Thursday, 14 March, the Saeima adopted in the third and final reading amendments to the Animal Protection Law with the aim of improving animal welfare. The new requirements concern the keeping, breeding, and surrendering of pets. In addition, the amendments facilitate animal traceability.

According to the Law, associations and foundations engaged in animal rescue and care must register as animal shelters with the Food and Veterinary Service by the end of the year. The relevant ministries, sectoral representatives, and MPs have reached a compromise after extensive discussions, underlined Skaidrīte Ābrama, Chair of the Saeima Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee responsible for the progress of the draft law. A person taking consistent care of pets entrusted to them by pet owners in exchange for a payment must register as an animal boarding facility. The Cabinet will lay down the requirements for animal shelters and boarding facilities.

”Animal welfare requirements apply to every pet regardless of the breed or the number of pets kept in a single location, and must be respected by every owner, keeper, and breeder,” stated Ābrama, explaining that the amendments will align the animal welfare requirements for animal rescue and breeding facilities.

The amendments define a pet breeder as any owner or keeper of a dog, cat, or ferret with an offspring. The owner has the obligation to enter information about their pet’s breeding in the database of the pet register. The Food and Veterinary Service is tasked with the supervision and control of places used for pet breeding.

Owners breeding and surrendering their pets must have received animal welfare and protection training. The Cabinet will decide on the training curriculum, length, examination procedure, and persons qualified to teach. In addition, the government will elaborate other animal welfare requirements, such as the rules on premises and equipment necessary for animal breeding, and the procedure for registering, marking, and surrendering animals, including the details to be included in pet sales advertisements.

The fine for violating pet surrendering rules has been doubled: up to 220 EUR for natural persons and up to 420 EUR for legal persons.

The law forbids keeping a dog tethered, except for dogs born before 31 August 2023. The Cabinet will decide on exceptions when tethering a dog will be allowed.

The amendments provide that local governments will have a supervisory and control function over animal welfare requirements, including the obligation to carry out checks in pet keeping locations in their administrative area. Moreover, local governments will decide on the permissible times and public spaces within their territory for taking a dog outside, including off leash.

In addition, the Saeima adopted in the final reading related amendments to the Veterinary Medicine Law. The changes, effective 1 July, provide that cats and ferrets must also be registered. The Cabinet will stipulate the exemptions on the mandatory chipping and registration of cats and ferrets.


Saeima Press Service

Trešdien, 19.jūnijā
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