If you have taken the metro recently, you might have spotted a poster from Bruxelles Environnement with the heading « having a pet is like welcoming a new member of the family, so think before saying yes ». This message reminds us that becoming a pet owner is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly.
So, in case you are thinking about getting a pet or arriving to Belgium with one, here is what you need to know for being a pet owner in Brussels.
1. Legal obligation of pet owners
Brussels imposes that all animals have an electronic microchip, allowing shelters to easily bring you back lost pets to their families. In order to have your animal microchipped, all you need to do is go to your local veterinarian and he will procced to the registration.
2. Expats bringing pets
If you are coming to Brussels from another country with an animal, you are required to follow specific steps. All animals must have a European passport delivered by a veterinarian and carnivores (dogs, cats, ferret etc…) must be vaccinated against rabies. Regarding dogs, if your dog is more than 8 weeks old at the time of its arrival in Belgium, you must register him within 8 days after arrival. This rule does not apply to foreigners who stay less than 6 months in Belgium. A dog coming from abroad, identified by a tattoo, must be re-identified by the implantation of an electronic microchip. Regarding cats, it is important to underline that Belgian legislation will change this year to better fit the national “Cat Plan” against subpopulation. Since 2014, all cats must be sterilised: only cats used for professional reproduction can be acquired without sterilisation. Regarding other animals, identification (microchip or other forms) is also required. If you plan on buying an exotic animal, make sure that the breeder has a CITES certificate.
3. Renting an apartment with a pet
Belgium law states that landlords are advised to simply not just write in the contract “all animals are forbidden in the dwelling”, but really justify which types of animals are not allowed and for which reasons. Some judges have indeed allowed a tenant to have animals despite being prohibited by the lease. These decisions were made on the grounds that “the total prohibition of having animals violates the private and family life of tenants”, making Brussels a friendly pet city.
If you wish to have additional information about being a pet owner in Brussels, get in touch with your commune.