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New law on dog walking

Dog owners in Turin will be fined up to 500 euros (£350) if they don’t walk their pets at least three times a day, under a new law from the city’s council. People will also be banned from dyeing their pets’ fur or "any form of animal mutilation" for merely ‘aesthetic motives’ such as docking dogs’ tails, under the law about to be passed in the northern Italian city.

"In Turin it will be illegal to turn one’s dog into a ridiculous fluffy toy," the city’s newspaper La Stampa daily reported.

Italians can already be fined up to 10,000 euros (£7,500) and be jailed for a year if found guilty of torturing or abandoning their pets under national animal protection laws, but Turin’s new rules go into much greater detail. Dogs may be led for walks by people on bicycles, the rules say, "but not in a way that would tire the animal too much."

Italy considers itself an animal-loving nation and in many cities stray cats are protected by law. Still some 150,000 pet dogs and 200,000 cats are abandoned in Italy every year, according to animal rights groups.

To enforce the law, Turin police would rely largely on the help of tipsters spotting cruel treatment by their neighbours, La Stampa reported.

The city has published 20-page rulebook for pet owners that gives the city of Turin the most stringent animal protection rules in the country, Turin’s laws ban fairgrounds from giving away goldfish in plastic bags – a move that the UK Government initially included then proposed dropping from its own much-vaunted Animal Welfare Bill.

However, many Italian dog owners are saying that Turin’s laws go too far and some of the clauses – such as the ‘three walks a day’ clause go way beyond sensible or reasonable animal care requirements.