Germany to Require Dog Owners to Walk Pets Twice a Day — Is It Too Paternalistic?
German Minister of Food and Agriculture Julia Klockner proposed new legislation last week to require dog owners to take their furry friends twice a day.
“Pets are not cuddly toys, and their needs shall also be also taken into account,” Klockner said, adding that the dog’s exercise could take the form of a walk or letting it run around outside.
According to the last survey of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the proposed legislation will affect nearly a fifth of locals, who own more than 9 million dogs.
Under the planned rules, dog owners will not be allowed to leave their pets alone the whole day. The dog owners will also not be allowed to keep the pet chained for an extended period, except for some working dogs.
The new regulations will also affect dog breeders. They will be restricted to look after a maximum of three litters. In addition, their puppies need to spend a minimum of four hours a day in a human company to socialize.
At dog shows, purebred pets with ”agony breeding characteristics,” for example, dogs developing breathing problems or Cavalier King Charles spaniels developing early hip and heart issues, will be banned from being showcased.
The new proposal has stirred discussions in Germany. Helge Melzer, a golden retriever owner, told the tabloid Bild that she does not believe in such a regulation. In her view, each dog is different, has a different age, various health issues, and dog owners live in different climates.
According to Barbel Kleid, who owns a Yorkshire terrier, it is patronizing from the government to order dog owners for how long they should walk their dogs. Kleid also questions how the
Julia Duden, who owns a Labrador, is in favor of the law. In her view, walks are mandatory, and it is important to walk your dog for at least an hour per day. The government does not have a clear answer now, but it is said that it is up to the states to figure that out.
It is also unclear whether the new rules are focused on ordinary dog owners or aimed at commercial dog breeders. According to the spokesperson for VDH, the German dog breeders’ association, the new rules will create minimum standards for dog dealers who do not take animal welfare into account. In his view, a little would change for the regular dog owners.
The German animal welfare association welcomed the news adding that the proposed regulations are a step in the right direction but they do not go far enough. In the association’s opinion, prospective dog owners should be required to prove expertise on dog care and training before purchasing a pet.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the proposed legislation?