This is the National Code of Police and coexistence. “The provisions set forth in this Code are of a preventive nature and seek to establish the conditions for coexistence in the national territory by promoting the fulfillment of the duties and obligations of natural and legal persons, as well as determining the exercise of power, function and Police activity, in accordance with the Political Constitution and the current legal system.”
Under Title XIII entitled, “Of the Relationship with Animals," this law regulates concerns to the relationship of humans and domestic animals, the responsibilities that owners have towards their pets, and the responsibilities pet owners have towards society. It regulates topics such as domestic animals in public places and public transportation; the creation of animal welfare centers in districts and municipalities to provide attention to abandoned animals; behaviors that pet owners must avoid to not disrupt the healthy and peaceful coexistence of the members of society; and the general provisions regarding the treatment of potentially dangerous dogs.
Chapter I of Title XIII corresponds to "Regarding respect and care of animals." This chapter stipulates the sort of behaviors that are harmful to animals that should be avoided. Some of the behaviors that should be avoid are: “promotion, participation and sponsorship of gambling activities where animals are presently involved, unless it is included in the exceptions of Ley 84, 1989, and selling of domestic animals in public spaces."
Chapter II, “Domestic Animals or Pets," regulates the concerning to the possession of pets. It stipulates that only animals authorized by the current normativity can be pets. The entry of pets in any place is subject to the regulation of such public places. In public spaces and on public transportation where pets are allowed, dogs shall always be leashed, and, in case of potentially dangerous dogs, they must be securely muzzled at all times. In regards to cats, this law requires them to be transported in a carrier or have an special collar for transportation.
The Police Code also requires all districts and municipalities to have shelters or animal welfare centers for:
- abandoned or surrendered domestic animals;
- animals that trespass the property of others;
- animals that are found wandering in public places whose owner are unknown; and
- animals whose physical condition or risk situation warrant the attention or temporary custody can be kept.
Animals will be kept in the shelter for up to thirty (30) "calendar" days. If after this period of time the animal the animal has not been claimed by its owner or holder, “the authorities shall declare it in a state of abandonment and proceed to promote its adoption,” so long as it do not represent a danger to the community and is sterilized prior to delivery. The City Halls are responsible of implementing a mechanism to inform the public about the place where these animals are kept. They are also responsible of establishing a system where the public can request and search information about lost animals.
Chapter III, “Of the Coexistence of Persons with Animals," establishes specific behaviors that should be avoided, as they put the coexistence of citizens at risk. Some of these behaviors are the prevention of “entry or stay of guide dogs that, as guides, accompany their owner or holder, in public places," and “the training of canine specimens for their participation in fights as spectacle, to attack people, things or other animals or establish canine associations oriented for this purpose.” Dog fighting is prohibited in the entire territory.
Chapter IV regulates the possession and ownership potentially dangerous dogs and the requirements to be able to own them. According to this chapter, dogs that are considered "potentially dangerous" are:
- those, that have had “episodes of aggression against people, or have caused other dogs to die”;
- [dogs] “that have been trained to defend and attack; or
- “[c]anines that belong to one of the following breeds or their crosses or hybrids: American Staffordshire Terrier, Bullmastiff, Doberman, Dogo Argentino, Dogo de Bordeaux, Fila Brasileiro, Neapolitan Mastiff, Bull Terrier, Pit Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Prey Canary, Rottweiler, Staffordshire Terrier, Japanese Tosa and those new breeds or mixtures of races determined by the national Government.”
Potentially dangerous dogs are required to be leashed and muzzled at all times while in public areas. Additionally, owners are required to register their dogs in the potentially dangerous dog census of the respective City Hall, and to carry the holding permit for the specific dog. Owners are also required to obtain a third party damage insurance, and will be held responsible and required to fully compensate the victim(s) of the damage caused by the dog.