German dog owners will be ordered by law to take their pets on hour-long walks twice a day under new regulations.
Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner will introduce new legislation in the Dogs Act to ensure people take their animals for substantial walks rather than short trips around the neighbourhood.
She said the law is based on evidence that many dogs in Germany are not getting enough exercise on a daily basis, the Guardian reported.
Ms Klöckner added it has emerged that dogs need a ‘sufficient measure of activity and contact with environmental stimuli’ per day.
‘Dogs are not cuddly toys. They also have their own needs, which need to be taken into account,’ she said.
Under the new rules, it will no longer be legal for Germany’s 9.4 million dogs to be left alone at home for long periods.
Keeping dogs tethered or on a lead for a significant amount of time could also be banned.
The announcement of the legislation this week led many to question how the government could possibly ensure the nation’s dog owners abide by these rules.
Bärbel Kleid, who owns a five-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, added that they found it ‘patronising’ to be told how long to take pup Sam out for.
Christian Democratic Union MP Saskia Ludwig also argued the recent heatwave meant it was impossible for dogs to be outside for such long periods.
On Twitter, she said: ‘I will not be taking my Rhodesian Ridgeback for two rounds of walks in 32 degrees heat, rather we will jump in the river for a refreshing cool down instead.’
The Agricultural Ministry has confirmed local authorities across each German state will be responsible for enforcement.
It is expected the legislation will come into effect next year.