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Not Exercising Dogs Could Soon Be A Crime in Germany

The government mandate has taken a step closer to becoming law.

Image from Pikist

The German government is considering a mandate that would require their citizens to exercise their dogs at least twice a day for a total of at least an hour.

According to Germany’s Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, this ordinance would “ensure that dogs are given sufficient exercise and contact with environmental stimuli” each day. Suggested forms of exercise included taking pets on a walk or allowing them to play outside.

“Pets are not cuddly toys— their needs must be taken into account,” Minister Julia Klöckner said. Klöckner, who proposed the ordinance earlier this week, asserted that the mandate could “ensure an improvement in animal welfare.”

Klöckner in 2015. Image from Wikimedia

The possibility of such a regulation has attracted a range of responses from the German public—many of them negative.

“Every dog ​​is different, has a different age, different diseases, and we have different climates,” one German dog owner told Bild. “I don’t believe in regulation!”

However, some are applauding the government’s move towards protecting the wellbeing of the country’s 9 million dogs. 

“It is absolutely correct and important that you go out with your dog for at least an hour every day,” another owner said.

Other provisions in the mandate include a ban on keeping dogs tied up and exhibiting dogs with “tortured breeding characteristics” at dog shows. Each of Germany’s 16 states would have to decide how to enforce these rules, if and when they become law. The ministry has stated that enforcement measures will likely not include things like door-to-door checks.

“We welcome the fact that there are now more specific requirements [for dog owners],” said Thomas Schröder, president of the German animal welfare association. However, the organization believes there is still a long way to go before the nation’s dogs are guaranteed an appropriate standard of living.

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