Dangerous dogs (perros potencialmente peligrosos): definitions, rules, and fines

The Councillor for Environmental Quality, Security and Public Services of Santa Cruz Ayuntamiento, Sheila Trujillo, spoke direct to the public yesterday. She called for us all to denounce to the police anyone we see who is not complying with the laws about Potentially Dangerous Dogs.

Such dogs are defined as follows, though it is important to note that this is the general definition according to Royal Decree 287/2002 which itself is a continuation of 50/1999, and that beyond this generic description, local Ayuntamientos will have their own often stricter criteria.

1. Those belonging to any of the following breeds and their crosses:

  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Rottweiler
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Tosa Inu
  • Akita Inu

2. Those animals that have all or many of the following characteristics:

  • Strong musculature, powerful or athletic constitution, robustness, agility, vigor and endurance.
  • Strong character and marked courage.
  • Short hair.
  • Thoracic perimeter between 60 and 80 cm, shoulder height of between 50 and 70 cm, and weight over 20 kg.
  • Voluminous, square, robust head, with a wide and large skull and muscular and pronounced cheeks. Strong and large jaws, robust, wide and deep snout.
  • Broad, short and muscled neck.
  • Broad, thick, deep chest, with arched ribs and short and muscled back.
  • Straight, parallel and robust forelegs and muscular hindquarters, with relatively long hindlegs at a moderate angle.

3. Those dogs with a record of aggressive tendencies or prior attacks on humans or other animals.

All dogs covered by the act must be muzzled outside and on a non-extendable lead of 2 metres; they must be tied up even on private property that is not fully enclosed; and their owners must have a licence and public liability insurance of €120,000, proof of which must be carried with them when they walk their dog.

Sra Trujillo said that we were all responsible to ensure that tragedies such as the killing in 2010 of a Santa Cruz toddler by the family pitbull become a thing of the past. She warned that fines range from a minimum of €2,500 to a maximum of €15,000 for anyone who fails to comply with the law. Fines at the lower end are for owners who do not muzzle such dogs; top end fines will be for failing to register and not having insurance, and so on.

The Councillor clarified the rules:

  • owners may not be minors
  • must not have a criminal record
  • must be physically and psychologically accredited (part of the licencing process I believe)
  • must have public liability insurance to a minimum of €150,000 (this must have gone up because it used to be 120,000, or it might be the specific requirement for Santa Cruz Ayuntamiento)
  • must pay a local tax (again part of licencing I believe)
  • must produce two photographs (one for the licence and one for the required copy of the animal’s documentation).

The animal’s file will be registered and record the number of its required chip.

Sra Trujillo stressed that dogs classified as potentially dangerous must never under any circumstances go out without a non-extendable lead of 2 metres and a muzzle.  To enforce these rules, she appealed to the public’s conscience, and urged everyone to denounce to the police anyone they see breaking them.  LO

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