Owning a dog is a big responsibility that shouldn’t be jumped into lightly. There are so many people that pick up a dog on impulse, and then never actually make time to give their pet the time and attention they need.
So what if there was a law that legally required dog owners to make time for their pets? That’s the subject of a new law in Germany, which has drawn both praise and concern from local citizens.
According to BBC, German Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner is introducing new legislation to the country’s Dog Act that will require owners to walk their dogs twice a day, for an hour total.
She said the proposal is in response to German dogs not getting enough exercise, saying they need a “sufficient measure of activity and contact with environmental stimuli.”
“Dogs are not cuddly toys. They also have their own needs, which need to be taken into account,” Klöckner said.
Such a law could encourage people to take their dogs’ wellbeing more seriously, and view responsibilities like walks as essential.
But German citizens have also wondered if the law is necessary or practical. A local owner of a Yorkshire Terrier told the Daily Mail she found it “patronizing” that the government would tell her how long to walk her dog.
And while Klöckner says the proposal is based on expert medical advice from veterinarians, others have said that an hour of exercise a day isn’t ideal for every kind of dog.
“For a young, fit Labrador, two hours of walkies are healthier than for an arthritic pug with heart problems,” dog trainer Anja Striegel told a German newspaper, according to Reuters.
If passed, the law will go into effect next year. It isn’t clear how it will be enforced. But while the mandatory dog walking is controversial, there are other parts of the law are more agreeable.
Dog owners will not be allowed to keep their dogs chained up for long periods of time, and dog breeders will be limited to three litters and their puppies will require four hours of human interaction.
What do you think of this idea? Should people be required to walk their dogs twice a day?