Germany seems to now be bringing forth a national wellness plan that is including their pets in it. As The Guardian reports, the German government is now bringing forward new legislation that requires all dog owners in the country to take their dogs on not just one walk per day, but two! Everyone knows that dogs need exercise. That is why getting a dog requires dog owners to make sure they make plenty of time to get them out and exercised. If someone doesn’t want to be physically active with their pet, then they should consider getting a goldfish instead. But this new German legislation is called The Dog Act. And it certainly doesn’t let the dog owners off lightly in terms of walking their dogs. They want the roughly 9.4 million dogs living in the country to receive at least a full hour of exercise per day, meaning they need to get a generous amount of exercise.
Julia Klockner is not only the agricultural minister for Germany but also the one who was responsible for bringing forth the new legislation. She said, “Dogs are not cuddly toys and they also have their own needs, which need to be taken into account.”
Klockner’s Dog Act comes backed with plenty of scientific research that dogs need a “sufficient measure of activity and contact with environmental stimuli,” meaning that they need to engage in regular walks and playtime with other dogs as well as other people. Even though people go to work and have to leave their pups at home for extended periods of time, it’s not what should be done all the time – at some point, you have to take them outside for an exercise session. These new rules are scheduled to be put into effect next year in 2021.
However, these new rules have caused somewhat of an uproar amongst the dog owners of Germany – including some of the people in government that Klockner works with! One of her fellow ministers, Saskia Ludwig, posted a tweet that read, “VOLUNTARY DISCLOSURE: I will not be taking my Rhodesian Ridgeback for two rounds of walks in 32 degrees heat, rather we will all jump in the river for a refreshing cool down instead.”
Following on the bandwagon of dog owners who are in an uproar, there were many who were questioning how exactly this legislation will work. The biggest concerns seem to be how the government plans to enforce the proposed legislation. Additionally, there are concerns about sick or elderly dogs and if they will be given exemptions from strenuous activity. One Berlin inhabitant, Barbel Kleid, said to The Guardian, “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? Will the neighbor call the police if they suspect me of not taking Sam for long enough walks?”
Kleid added, “He wouldn’t manage two hours a day anyway,” pointing out that her dog is a 5-year-old Yorkie. Another person living in Cologne, Walther Schweiz, agreed with Kleid’s concerns, noting that his 14-year-old Alsatian Blu wouldn’t be able to go on such long walks since he’s suffering from cancer. Schweiz pointed out that the new rules were too invasive by telling people how they should conduct their personal lives with their pets. Schweiz added, “They’ll be telling cat owners how often they need to change their litter trays next.”
Time will only tell how these new rules end up unfolding. What do you make of the new rules? Would you want to see something similar introduced in the US? Let us know!