New Law Proposed in Germany Demands Dog Owners Take Pets on an Hour-Long Walk Twice a Day
"Dogs are not cuddly toys. They also have their own needs," Germany’s agriculture minister, who introduced the new law, said
Dog owners in Germany could be legally required to walk their pets twice daily, in accordance with a new law introduced by the country’s agriculture minister, Julia Klöckner.
"Dogs are not cuddly toys. They also have their own needs, which need to be taken into account," Klöckner said in explaining the regulations, according to The Guardian.
The law, under Germany’s Dogs Act, will require that owners take their dogs out for at least one hour twice a day, meaning a quick jaunt around the block won’t suffice.
Klöckner said the new rules are based on scientific findings showing that dogs need a "sufficient measure of activity and contact with environmental stimuli" in order to thrive.
As such, dogs may not be left alone at home all day and the tethering of dogs on a chain or a leash for long periods could also be banned.
Klöckner’s proposed regulations would affect a significant number of Germans, as there are an estimated 9.4 million pet dogs in the country. It has raised questions about whether the government will be able to properly enforce such a law.
“Compulsory Walkies for Dog Owners? Rubbish!” one opinion article in Germany’s Bild newspaper read. A spokesman for the VDH German Dog Association similarly told Reuters that the rule was "unrealistic."
"I find it patronizing to be told how long I should take my dog out for. And who is going to check up on me?" Berlin resident Bärbel Kleid, the owner of a five-year-old Yorkshire terrier named Sam, told The Guardian. "Will the neighbor call the police if they suspect me of not taking Sam for long enough walks? He wouldn’t manage two hours a day anyway."
Walther Schweiz, who lives in Cologne, added, "They should trust people to get on with their own lives. They’ll be telling cat owners how often they need to change their litter trays next."