Greece is introducing sweeping new regulations for pet owners and pet sellers and stricter penalties for animal abuse in a new bill brought before Parliament on Thursday.
Presenting the bill, Alternate Minister of Interior Stelios Petsas said that the new “framework for pets shows our humanity.”
The legislation, he said, provides the tools and resources for the necessary welfare of pets.
Ένα καλύτερο πλαίσιο για τα ζώα συντροφιάς δείχνει την ανθρωπιά μας. Με το νέο θεσμικό πλαίσιο που εισηγήθηκα στο σημερινό Υπουργικό Συμβούλιο, παρέχουμε τα εργαλεία και τους πόρους για την ευζωία των ζώων συντροφιάς. @PrimeministerGR @kmitsotakis pic.twitter.com/QevdloJxPg
— Stelios Petsas (@SteliosPetsas) February 24, 2021
The new bill now explicitly includes the five internationally-recognized animal freedoms.
These are: freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from unnecessary suffering and strain, freedom from pain, injury and illness, freedom from fear and anxiety, and the freedom to express normal behaviors in appropriate living conditions.
“Digital health book” for pets
A key aspect of the proposed legislation creates a new digital health book for all pets, which will include a full medical history and will be accessible by both owners and veterinarians.
Another key piece of legislation is a ban on cat and dog sales in pet shops, as well as a ban on breeding advertorials.
The fine for publishing a breeding advertisement will be more than tripled when not referencing the pet’s unique ID microchip number and the new reproduction license.
The sale of pets in Greece will only be allowed by approved breeders and owners in the future. In addition, pet adoption fees will be forbidden, except for transportation and medical treatment costs.
New rules for breeders
Owners will be licensed to have one litter per pet, while prospective owners of the offspring will also have to be officially registered.
Neutering will now become mandatory for all owners, with some medical exceptions.
Approved licensed breeders will be fined 2,000 euros if they breed a single animal more than six times.
Amateur (so-called “back yard”) breeders will also be subjected to several new restrictive rules.
Pet abuse will carry stricter fines as well, and the laws against such abuse will now include acts such as abandonment, shooting, intentional injury and poisoning.
Existing fines for serious administrative offenses are also being tightened as per the new bill.
A new National Pet Registry will be introduced in Greece, where all pets — both owned or stray — will have to be registered, including pets put up for adoption.
Animal welfare associations, veterinarians, breeders and animal shelters will all have to register as well.
The criminal records of people who have been convicted of torturing animals will now be entered into a database managed by the Athens prosecutor’s office.
It will be cross-referenced with the Pet Registry so that these individuals may not register as pet owners in the future.
In order to encourage owners to take better care of their pets, the bill introduces incentives by municipalities, such as a reduction in city taxes by up to 10 percent.