DOG owners in Germany have been told they must walk their pets at least twice every day.
New laws state that all pooches must get a least one hours exercise a day and cannot be chained up for hours at a time.
A dog owner with her pooch passes a flower stand at a market in Berlin[/caption]
Regulations are also being devised to crack down on “puppy farms” by banning breeders from having more than three litters at a time.
“Pets are not cuddly toys, their needs have to be taken into account,” said Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner while introucing the changes.
A draft of the new rules has already been drawn up and is poised to come into force within months.
The move has unleashed a heated debate on whether or not the state can decide what is best for the country’s 9.4 million pet dogs.
With almost one in five German homes owning a hound the new ‘Animal Welfare Dog Regulation’, affects millions.
A woman runs with her dog in the pouring rain in Juist[/caption]
“Compulsory Walkies for Dog Owners? Rubbish!” wrote the top-selling Bild newspaper in an opinion piece on the new decree.
A spokesman for the VDH German Dog Association said most owners were laughing at the new rule because they already spent enough time walking their four-legged friends.
“One rule for all dogs is probably well meant but unrealistic,” said spokesman Udo Kopernik.
Dog trainer Anja Striegel said the amount of exercise a dog needs depended on the health, age and breed of dog.
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“For a young, fit Labrador, two hours of walkies are healthier than for an arthritic pug with heart problems,” she told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.
A ban is also planned on showing dogs which have had their ears or tail docked in contravention of animal protection rules.
Germany’s most popular breeds are the German Shepherd and Dachshund, followed by Labradors, retrievers, Jack Russell terriers and pugs.