Dog owners in Germany may soon be required by law to walk their pets at least twice a day. The law claims Germany’s dogs are not getting the exercise they need.
Dog owners in Germany may soon be required by law to walk their furry friends twice a day.
The mandate comes from Germany’s agriculture minister, Julia Klöckner, who said that the new law is based on the recommendation of animal welfare experts.
It can’t just be for a quick stroll down the block either: Dogs must be taken outside twice for at least an hour every day, whether it be running around in the park or the backyard or going for a long walk through the neighborhood.
“Dogs are not cuddly toys,” Klöckner said, according to the Guardian. “They also have their own needs, which need to be taken into account.”
The recommendation will affect nearly a fifth of Germans, who own more than 9 million dogs, according to a 2019 count from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
The new law, which will be implemented sometime next year, also includes further requirements for dog breeders and owners. At dog shows, purebred pups with ”agony breeding characteristics” — such as pugs who develop breathing issues or Cavalier King Charles spaniels who develop early-onset hip and heart issues — will be banned from being showcased.
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Dogs will also be prohibited from being chained, with an exception for some working dogs.
The collection of updated dog laws has been met with debate from dog owners and breeders throughout the nation, many of whom expressed concern over how the regulations will be enforced.
Walther Schweiz, an owner of a 14-year-old Alsatian with cancer, told the Guardian that his dog was unable to do more than short walks.
“They should trust people to get on with their own lives,” he told the paper.
It appears, however, that these policies may be intended primarily for dog dealers — including breeders and kennel owners — as opposed to individual dog owners.
Animal activist groups are praising the law, but according to NPR, believe that it should have more stringent requirements for prospective owners to show that they can raise a dog.
“A dog needs daily exercise in the open air and social contacts according to its needs. We welcome the fact that there are now more specific requirements,” Thomas Schröder, who helms the country’s animal welfare association said, per NPR.
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