Can You Be Fined for Taking Your Dog for a Walk During Lockdown?

April 27, 2020
Among the actions the Spanish government has imposed in order to slow the spread of coronavirus are fines related to taking dogs on a walk during lockdown. What do the Spanish need to to keep in mind in order to avoid sanctions?

The coronavirus pandemic placed many people around the world in mandatory quarantine. As a result, the owners of companion pets, especially dogs and cats, have some questions. For example, is it okay to take your dog for a walk during lockdown? What are the sanctions for violating protocol? What’s happening as far as animal abandonment? In this article, we’ll be focusing especially on Spain which is one of the most badly-affected countries during the crisis.

A review of the guidelines regarding taking out pets

  • The Spanish authorities have pointed out that walks should be short. In other words, just long enough for animals to take care of their physiological needs. Then you should go back indoors.
  • While out, animals must remain on leashes in order to avoid contact with other people and pets that may be in the same area.
  • Pet owners should maintain a safe distance–at least 3 feet–from other individuals.
  • Once animals have finished doing their business, the owners must pick up the feces–as always. Then, owners should also spray the area with a bit of water and detergent from a disposable bottle.
  • Once home, it’s important that owners wash the bottom of their animal’s feet and tail with soap and water.
A woman picking up after her dog.

Are there fines for taking your dog on a walk during lockdown?

Many pet owners in Spain are worried about going out, as violating the quarantine can lead to fines. However, as long as they obey all of the indications that the government has established, taking their dogs for a short walk shouldn’t be a problem.

People who have companion pets can take them out for a walk close to their home to take care of their needs. There’s no risk of fines as long as they do this individually and at times when foot traffic is at a minimum.

An owner walking a dog during coronavirus quarantine.
Fines for taking your dog for a walk during lockdown are for those who deliberately violate the indications provided by official organisms.

The issue of animal abandonment during quarantine

As a result of rumors and hoaxes that have circulated, the abandonment of companion pets has significantly increased. This supposes several problems.

For example, animal shelters may collapse if the number of animals they try to shelter is too high. At the same time, the number of animals roaming through the streets put their lives at risk, as well as the lives of drivers.

Animal abandonment doesn’t solve anything, lockdown or no lockdown. On the contrary, it creates new problems. Therefore, it’s extremely important for pet owners to take responsibility for their pets and not abandon them.

In Spain, animal abandonment is a crime. And several different laws within what’s called the Animal Protection and Welfare Code regulate the application of sanctions.

The Spanish penal code states that anyone who leaves an animal in a situation that threatens its life or integrity should serve between one and six years in prison. What’s more, the law prohibits these individuals from practicing professions that have to do with animals for up to a year. This extends to pet ownership as well.

In Spain, each autonomous community has its own specific legislation for imposing this type of sanctions, especially in regard to administrative and financial penalties.

Despite the hoaxes and rumors going around on the internet, NO scientific evidence exists that animals can spread COVID-19. Therefore, the abandonment of pets for fear of contagion isn’t justifiable.

Fines for walking your dog during lockdown are avoidable

Fines won’t affect the owners of companion animals as long as they go out alone, keep their pet on a leash, and follow all of the guidelines mentioned above.

Once again, it’s important not to make walks any longer than they need to be. The reason behind this restriction is that it can increase the chances of catching and spreading coronavirus.

Maintaining proper hygiene of your hands is key in reducing the chances of contagion. Adhering to these guidelines plays a fundamental role in stopping this virus that has the entire planet on alert.

A brief clarification regarding the use of gloves

The use of gloves for “protection” while out on the street is not recommended. It’s important to remember that using them gives us a false sense of security. Without even realizing it, we touch everything from doorknobs to our pet’s leash, and many other things along the way.

When wearing gloves, we may even feel “safe” enough to scratch our heads, which goes against sanitary recommendations.

Wash your hands to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Therefore, instead of using gloves, it’s best to go outdoors without gloves and simply avoid touching your face once you’re out the door. Once you get back, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Health care workers need gloves in order to work with infected patients. Therefore, we should avoid using them and wasting them. According to experts, the best defense we have against coronavirus is proper hand hygiene using soap and water.

Today more than ever, we must practice responsibility and work together at all times. The sum of each individual action will help prevent the spread of this virus that puts the lives of so many at risk. Therefore, we all need to do our part.

 

  • Redacción médica. Coronavirus y perros. Extraído de: https://www.redaccionmedica.com/secciones/sanidad-hoy/coronavirus-perros-no-necesitan-mascarillas-porque-no-se-contagian–5615
  • Cuando tu perro es el salvoconducto para salir de casa. El mundo. 2020. Extraído de: https://www.elmundo.es/madrid/2020/03/15/5e6e512afdddffd8058b4605.html

Comunicado Dirección General de Derechos de los Animales.