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Responsible Pet Ownership

Wolfenson Lawyers provides specialized legal advice on the responsible care of pets and pets.

Our firm meets the needs of people who have observed or suffered a violation of Law 21.020 that regulates the Responsible Ownership of Pets and Animals. We advise our clients in the event of possible litigation arising from an incident involving their pets or animals, providing legal advice focused on compensating the material and moral damages that may have been caused by it. Whether in cases where they have been sued before a Local Police Court and require preparing their professional legal defense, even those who wish to initiate a new lawsuit in order to obtain adequate compensation for damage to their pet or their person.

Wolfenson provides a comprehensive legal service to eventual litigation arising from the Responsible Pet Ownership Act.

Here is a legal guide to provide you with guidance on responsible animal ownership:

What is the responsible ownership of pets and pets?

It is the set of obligations that a person contracts when they decide to accept and keep a pet , that is, provide food, home and good treatment ; provide veterinary care and not subject them to suffering; in addition to respecting public health and safety regulations .

The new legal framework contemplates three main axes:

  1. Control of the animal population: through sterilization campaigns carried out by the municipalities and continuous control by the ministries of the Interior and Public Safety, Health and Education.

  2. Identification and registration of companion animals: through six registers and the implantation of an electronic device (microchip) , the aim is to link each companion animal to its owner.

  3. Citizenship education: competitive funds will be developed so that social organizations for animal care and protection apply for initiatives aimed at responsible pet ownership.


What records exist?

To facilitate the audit , six records were created :

  1. National registry of pets or companion animals , which includes a unique, standardized identification system and inseparably incorporated into the animal.

  2. National registry of potentially dangerous animals of the canine species.

  3. Registry of non-profit legal entities , promoters of responsible pet and pet ownership .

  4. Registry of breeders and sellers of pets or pets.

  5. Registry of breeders and sellers of potentially dangerous animals of the canine species.

  6. Registration of temporary maintenance centers for pets or pets.


What is meant by mistreatment or cruelty to an animal ?

Any action or omission (occasional or repeated), that unreasonably caused damage, pain or suffering to an animal.

For the first time in the history of Chile , the law considers abandonment as abuse , along with prohibiting slaughter by a population control method, animal fighting and training to make them more aggressive.

What are the penalties ?

  • Damage to an animal: minor prison sentence in its minimum to medium degree and a fine of 10 to 30 UTM , in addition to the perpetual absolute inability to keep any type of animal.

  • Serious injuries to the physical integrity or death of the animal: minor prison sentence in its medium degree and a fine of 20 to 30 UTM , in addition to the perpetual absolute inability to keep any type of animal.

Important: people who see their health or integrity threatened or disturbed by an animal will also be protected. The complaint must be made before the competent Local Police judge , and it will be the person responsible for the pet who will have to answer civilly for the damage caused.

How to make a report?

If you witness a situation that affects the well-being of a pet, you can make a complaint by submitting all the information to the Prosecutor's Office , the Local Police Court, Police or the Investigative Police . The reporting requirements are as follows:

  • The complaint must be accompanied by antecedents such as date, place, narration of the event, a document from a veterinary doctor indicating the injuries (if any).

  • In addition to any record of the crime that the person possesses (photographs, videos, audios, witnesses, others).

  • This procedure must be carried out by a person over 18 years of age , and in the case of being under that age, must be legally represented or represented by a person of legal age.

Subsequently, the Public Ministry will review the complaint and take the actions it determines according to each case.

Any act or omission , whether occasional or repeated, that unreasonably causes harm, pain or suffering to an animal is considered an act of mistreatment or animal cruelty .

Can I sue the damages caused by the pet or companion animal of a third party?

It is indeed possible to demand compensation for damages caused by a pet or companion animal . This is possible through the professional legal advice of a lawyer , who will represent you in court before the competent Local Police Court, making the respective complaint and claim for material and moral damages that have been caused to your pet, to your person or property. . Wolfenson represents its clients in the event of possible damages caused by or with respect to pets.

What damages can I sue for a violation of responsible pet ownership?

The damages to be compensated will be the emergent or direct damages produced by the pet or her (such as medical or veterinary expenses, as the case may be), the loss of profit in the event of having caused a temporary or permanent inability to work in the person who has suffered its effect, and the moral damage suffered by the plaintiff because of the damages produced by the pet of a third party regarding his own integrity or his pet.

What is Act 21.020 or Responsible Pet Holding Act?

For Wolfenson’s attorneys, these are all obligations that a person who decides to accept and maintain a pet or pet. It consists in registering it with the competent authority when appropriate, providing it with food, shelter, good treatment, providing veterinary care essential for its welfare and not subjecting it to suffering throughout its life.

Law 21.020 is on the Responsible Holding of Pets and Pets, also called "Cholito Law" and was enacted in 2017. The Responsible Pet and Companion Animal Tenure Act was pushed and enacted after the case of "Cholito" was known, a stray dog who died because he was beaten by several people. It covers all obligations incurred by a person who decides to accept and maintain a pet or pet. It consists in registering it with the competent authority when appropriate, providing it with food, shelter, good treatment, providing veterinary care essential for its welfare and not subjecting it to suffering throughout its life.

What are the objectives of responsible pet ownership?

The objectives of this law are to control the population of animals through campaigns and sterilization plans that are in charge of the municipalities and will be monitored by the Ministries of the Interior and Public Security, Health and Education, explain the specialist lawyers of our law firm in Las Condes.

Identification and registration of pets at national level: When adopting or buying a pet, it is mandatory to register it within a maximum of 90 days, to comply with what is established by law 21.020.

Educating civil society about responsible pet ownership: To this end, the state develops funds for social organizations of animal care and protection to put forward initiatives aimed at achieving this goal.

What are the principles behind the pet law?

Wolfenson lawyers explain that the principles enshrined in the Responsible Tenure Act are as follows:

  1. It sets out the obligations and rights of pet managers.

  2. Protect the health and welfare of animals through responsible keeping.

  3. Implement measures to control the pet or pet population to protect public health, human safety and the environment.

  4. Establish liability for damage to people or any property that is the result of the action of pets or pets.


What are the obligations of pet owners in Chile?

The Responsible Pet and Pet Law imposes a series of obligations for all those who have a pet in Chile, ourspecialist lawyers indicate that these are: 

  • Enter the pet in the National Pet Registry. 

  • Implant a microchip to the pet: An identification that serves to know who is responsible for the animal and contact, in case of accident or loss. 

  • Take responsibility for your food and health management: Have your vaccines up to date and be sterilized.

  • Civil liability for damage caused by a pet: For example, if it bites a person or causes an accident. Regarding this type of cases it is advisable to contact one of the expert lawyers of Wolfenson Abogados.


Who should ensure compliance with the Responsible Tenure Law in Chile?

Wolfenson Abogados identifies that, there are several actors who must ensure compliance with the Law, including the following:

The Ministries of the Interior and Public Security: Carabineros, the Chilean police, Ministries of Health and Education (at the central level) and also municipalities (at the local level).

Social organizations dedicated to animal care and protection: They promote education in citizenship and, in case of animal abuse, they can report those responsible for the aggression. 

Pet owners: You have an obligation to respect public health and safety standards. They must also provide food, shelter, friendly treatment and regular veterinary care to their pets. 

What kind of actions constitute a breach of the Responsible Tenure Act?

  • Do not register it in the National Pet Registry.

  • Not having a microchip that identifies the pet.

  • Do not respect your integrity: Cut your vocal cords, tail, ears and even teeth simply for aesthetic purposes. 

  • Not give her a good deal and hit her. 

  • Do not use muzzle, harness and leash on potentially dangerous breeds.

  • Do not maintain their hygiene.

  • Do not control it and bite and/or attack a person or other animal. 

  • Not give her a home or leave her. 

  • Not taking care of your health, for example, not letting you get your vaccines annually. 


What are the penalties and fines for animal abuse?

Our Wolfenson lawyers highlight their practice in the area of criminal and administrative law, and as for the processes of holding law responsible before local police courts and criminal courts, said law establishes fines of one to thirty monthly tax units, in addition to the application of the provisions of the Criminal Code on animal abuse, these may be: 

  • Prison sentences from 61 to 541 days.

  • Permanent inability to have any type of animal.

In case of recidivism, it is imposed up to double the fine and a local police judge has the power to order theadmission of the pet to a temporary maintenance center. The offender must bear the cost of food, care and veterinary treatment, if necessary.  

All the proceeds of the fines are part of the property of the respective municipality and must be used exclusively for plans to comply with the provisions of the law. 

Finally, it is also possible to demand legal or extrajudicial compensation for civil liability for damages that the owner of the pet may cause to third parties.

Wolfenson Abogados has a remarkable track record in this type of litigation, provided in Santiago but also throughout Chile, from its offices in Barrio El Golf, Las Condes.


Where should animal abuse be reported?

A person who witnesses animal abuse may :

  • Make a criminal complaint to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, through the specialized legal advice of Wolfenson lawyers.

  • Report to the Carabineros or the Investigative Police of Chile (PDI).

The complaint must include details such as date, place, narration of the event and report of a veterinary doctor, in case of injury to the person or animal. In addition to photographs, videos, audios, witnesses or any element that serves as evidence of what happened and the violation of the rights of the animal.

Wolfenson Abogados provides legal advice to initiate legal actions for the responsible possession of animals and pets.

Links of interest about Legal Advice on Responsible Holding of Pets and Companion Animals :

1.- Civil Code

2.- Law on Responsible Ownership of Pets and Companion Animals (Law 21.020)

3.- National Pet Registry

4.- Procedure Law before Local Police Courts

Wolfenson Lawyers. Chile Law Firm.

If you need more information and legal advice regarding the responsible ownership of pets and animals, we invite you to contact our lawyers in Santiago.

We are located at Avenida El Golf 40, 12th Floor, in the commune of Las Condes, Santiago de Chile.

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