Portugal: New rules for identification of companion animals and creation of a unique national database

The Decree-Law 82/2019 establishing the rules of identification of pets has been published on June 27. It establishes new rules for identification of companion animals, and the creation of a unique national database SIAC (Companion Animals Information System). In the Decree-Law introduction, the legislator says:

The regulation of companion animal ownership is a measure designed to counteract abandonment and its consequences for the health and safety of humans and for the welfare of the animals.

The prevention of animal abandonment through the promotion of responsible ownership encompasses, among other obligations, the identification and registration of companion animals”.

The main aspects covered by this new law are:

Creation of a new national database: SIAC.

Until now there were two databases where companion animal microchips could be registered: the national database SICAFE (the "Canine and Feline Identification System" created in 2003) and the private vet database SIRA ("Animal Identification and Recovery System" created in 1992 with the objective of facilitating the recovery of lost and found companion animals, where many companion animals of different species were registered on a voluntary basis).

According to local NGOs none of them worked well and frequently animals are found with a microchip that is not registered on any of these databases. With this new law, the two databases merged in a new official database called SIAC.

SIAC, which is officially created by this decree-law, merge the 2 systems, following the Assembly Resolution 155/2016, of July 1, which recommended to the Government the merge of SICAFE and SIRA, in order to improve the efficiency of companion animals R&I. Veterinarians are now responsible to register the microchip in the SIAC database, immediately after applying the microchip with the maximum delay of 15 days.

Lochen 2011

 Measures to improve companion animals I&R

The decree Law includes new rules that should improve companion animal responsible ownership in Portugal. These are a few examples of the new regulations:

  • Animals coming from abroad to stay in the country for more than 120 days should also be microchipped and registered at SIAC;
  • The microchip and registration is now mandatory for dogs, cats and ferrets, and must take place until 120 days after birth;
  • When animals are sold or adopted at breeding facilities or shelters, the microchip must be applied and registered before they leave the facility, regardless of their age;
  • Mandatory vaccination can only be administered after I&R: veterinarians must microchip all the animals not yet identified before they can vaccinate them, except if there is a medical reason that prevents the immediate application of the microchip;
  • Cats and ferrets that were born before this new legislation must be identified with a trasponder and registered within 4 months after the law comes into force (27th June 2019)
  • Only individual persons can have animals registered in their name, except for some legal persons such as shelters from registered charities or breeding and selling facilities.

The fine for failing to microchip or register an animal is from 50€ to 3740€ for natural persons or from 50€ to 44890€ if the owner is a legal person;

Link to the Official text of the Decree Law 82/2019 here.