When it comes to getting regular exercise, humans can be a lost cause. Given the trajectory of humanity right now, it’s probably better to put our faith in dogs anyway. That’s why Germany is introducing a new law requiring dog owners to walk their pets twice a day, for an hour each, to ensure they’re getting the exercise they need. The Dogs Act was conceived by agriculture minister Julia Klöckner, who based the new rules on scientific findings that show dogs require a certain level of activity and socialization.
According to Klöckner, “Dogs are not cuddly toys. They also have their own needs, which need to be taken into account.”
The law will be introduced next year and enforced by local authorities in each of Germany’s states. Since 19 percent of German households own dogs, however, the law may prove difficult to enforce.
The Dogs Act has already met with some opposition. Bärbel Kleid, a dog-owner in Berlin, told The Guardian, “I find it patronising 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? He wouldn’t manage two hours a day anyway.”
Even members of Klöckner’s own party, like Saskia Ludwig, a CDU MP, think the law is too general and strict. “VOLUNTARY DISCLOSURE,” she tweeted, “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.”