The amendment to the penal code approved by the Spanish Congress provides for "six to 18 months in prison or 18 to 24 months of community service" for anyone who causes the death of a non-domestic vertebrate animal.

The category of vertebrate animal includes any animal that has a skeleton with a spine and skull, so killing a fish, mouse, dog or lizard is punishable in the same way.

Killing a snake that enters the garden is also punishable by six to eighteen months in prison under this rule.

The amendment also means that if a mouse or rat that enters the house is not shot and killed but causes injuries requiring veterinary intervention, it can face between 3 and 12 months in prison if reported to the police.

Maltreatment without injury will also be punishable by "a fine of one to two months or community service from one day to thirty days".

This means that anyone who pulls a dog's leash or speaks badly could face a fine.