Debate ongoing about age restriction for pet ownership

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There are currently no age limits in Latvia on the purchase of domestic animals. On Tuesday, January 31, talks were opened between representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture (ZM), the Association of Veteranians and non-governmental organizations about the possible implementation of such.

It is currently not specified in Latvia at what age a person may purchase a pet. Inese Bāra, spokeswoman for the Animal Police Foundation, said: if there is an exact age limit for controlled items, such as cigarettes, alcohol, or weapons, it is not clear about the purchase of animals.

"The Civil Law provides for a variety of conditions under which a person is able to act, but, for example, the Animal Protection Law provides that animal shelters may only give an animal to an 18-year-old person, but for pet stores, for private owners, for all gift-givers, this age does not really apply, and therefore it is not clear what person is entitled to buy an animal then,” Bāra said.

The head of the “Labās mājas” animal shelter, Astrīda Kārkliņa, said that a minor cannot be the owner of an animal because they would not be able to carry full responsibility for it.

A pet shop, which wanted to remain anonymous, also said that companies themselves have to think about who to sell or not to sell an animal, judging not only age, but also their attitude, so certain arrangements or laws are needed.

In the negotiations initiated by the ZM, no specific decisions have been taken for the time being on the age limit for the purchase of domestic animals.

All parties agree that a minor cannot own an animal, so the matter will continue to be analyzed in order to understand and agree on how it can be legally restricted.

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