Germany is bringing in a new law that aims to make unwalked dogs and lonely puppies a thing of the past. Under the "Hundeverordnung"—Dogs Act—owners will be required to walk or otherwise exercise their dogs at least twice a day, for a total time of one hour, the BBC reports. It will also be illegal to leave dogs alone all day, or leave them chained up, and puppies will be required to have human company for at least four hours a day. "Pets are not cuddly toys, their needs have to be taken into account," says Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner. Under the law, which is due to be introduced next year, dog breeders will be banned from looking after more than three litters at a time.
Klöckner says the law is being introduced because evidence shows many of the country's 9.4 million dogs are not getting enough exercise, though critics say it is unrealistic, the Guardian reports. "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?" says Berlin resident Bärbel Kleid, owner of a Yorkshire terrier called Sam. "Will the neighbour call the police if they suspect me of not taking Sam for long enough walks?" Other dog owners argue that the law shouldn't apply to older dogs. The government says enforcement will be up to authorities in Germany's 16 states. (Read more Germany stories.)