Germans may need to step it up and walk their dogs twice a day thanks to a new law. A new ordinance was proposed this week by German Minister of Food and Agriculture Julia Klöckner that would require dog owners to let their pets out of the house to exercise at least twice a day for a total of one hour. The ministry says, "this is to ensure that dogs are given sufficient exercise and contact with environmental stimuli."

The proposed ordinance from the Food and Agriculture Ministry has caused a lot of barking from dog owners who think the regulation is a bit overboard. The main question fired at the proposed legislation is aimed at how the government plans to enforce the new law. Who will police dog owners if they have walked their dogs long enough?

In a country with 9 million dogs, Germany's states would be up to their collars trying to figure out an efficient and effective way to carry this out. A spokesperson for the ministry said it would be highly unlikely for authorities to be ringing doorbells around every block to check if Fido has gone for his daily required exercise.

It would seem unclear as of now if the proposed law is mainly focused on pet owners or at commercial dog breeders. The German dog breeder's association,Verband für das Deutsche Hundewesen (VDH) said the new rules would set minimum standards for breeders who don't have much regard for animal welfare. On the other hand, they predict it would not even make any difference with pet owners.

The new ordinance also included other provisions that includes a ban on keeping dogs attached to a chain, with exceptions to working dogs on certain conditions. It also prohibits showcasing dogs with "tortured breeding characteristics" at dog shows such as the French bulldog, and the pug. These dogs are often known to end up with health issues related to breathing and respiratory illnesses due to their short snouts. Its aim is to eliminate incentives to breed such dogs and reduce the demand for them.

The German animal welfare association sees the proposed regulation as a step forward in the right direction. The group's president, Thomas Schröder strongly points out that prospective dog owners must be able to prove required expertise on dog care as well as training before they are allowed to purchase any dogs.

Schröder suggests a possible way to enforce the proposed dog exercise law , "if you want to protect dogs, you should also require owners to identify and register their four-legged friends."

Dog walking
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