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AUG. 5, 2022

Let’s go over the main points of the Law on Responsible Pet and Companion Animal Ownership

This law, also known as “Law Cholito”, has been in full force since February 2019. It establishes a series of obligations that a person enters into when they decide to accept and keep a pet or companion animal. Find out what they are and how to be a responsible human when caring for a pet. 

Having a pet or companion animal brings with it great responsibility. You have to feed them, take them to the vet, sterilize them, give them a home and treat them well, pick up and throw away their waste, as well as respecting public health and safety regulations. 

The Law on Responsible Pet and Companion Animal Ownership, also known as “Law Cholito”, establishes a series of obligations for people who decide to take care of a pet or companion animal. 

For example: 

  • The person who has a pet must:

- Register it and get an electronic implant (microchip). Pets must be registered at registratumascota.cl. Those who do not comply risk a fine of between one and 30 Unidades Tributarias Mensuales (UTM) (an indicator used for tax purposes whose value in pesos is defined by law and is adjusted each month in accordance with the Consumer Price Index). 

- Take responsibility for its diet and health. 

- Respond civilly for any damages it causes. 

  • The Interior and Public Security Ministry, Health Ministry and Education Ministry (at the central level) and the municipalities (at the local level) must monitor and be responsible for compliance with the law. 
  • Social organizations focusing on animal care and protection must encourage the education of the population. The Regional and Administrative Development Undersecretary’s Office (SUBDERE) is able to award competitive funds for this purpose. 
Potentially dangerous breeds 

The law establishes that breeds corresponding to canine species considered potentially dangerous must be registered on the National Registry of Potentially Dangerous Animals of the Canine Species. These breeds are: Bullmastiff; Doberman; Argentine Dogo; Brazilian Mastiff; Pitbull; Presa Canario; Majorcan Bulldog; Rottweiler; and Tosa Inu. 

People who have a dog with these characteristics must also meet the following requirements: 

  • The owner must be over 18 years of age 
  • This must be declared on the respective registry 
  • A lead, muzzle and harness must be used in public spaces
  • The place of residence must be equipped with a secure fence 
  • The space must be adequate for the animal’s physiological and ethological characteristics 
  • The owner must complete an obedience training course with their dog 
  • The owner must attend a talk on responsible ownership given by a competent professional
Sanctions for animal abuse 

The Law on Responsible Pet and Companion Animal Ownership also sanctions any action or omission (occasional or repeated) that unjustifiably causes harm, pain or suffering to an animal. For the first time in Chile’s history, the law considers abandonment as abuse, and bans culling as a population control method, animal fighting, and training animals to be more aggressive. 

How is abuse punished? 

  • When harm is caused to an animal: minor prison sentence in its minimum to medium degree and a fine of 10 to 30 UTM, as well as the permanent absolute ban on owning any type of animal.  
  • Serious bodily injury or death of the animal: minor prison sentence in its medium degree and a fine of 20 to 30 UTM, as well as the permanent absolute ban on owning any type of animal. 

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

▶ Check out more Frequently Asked Questions at tenenciaresponsablemascotas.cl/preguntas-frecuentes

Cover photo credit: SUBDERE