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Spanish told: walk your dog or face 400 euro fine
Dog owners in the Spanish city of Girona have been told they must walk their animals for at least 20 minutes a day or face fines of up to 400 euros (£360).
By Fiona Govan in Madrid Last Updated: 3:25PM BST 13 Apr 2009
Authorities in the northeastern city are introducing the new bylaw in a bid to strengthen animal protection laws.
The new regulations are also designed to cut down on the number of neighbourly disputes by fining those who leave their dogs alone at home to bark for hours. Last year the city recorded more than 300 cases of residents complaining about their neighbours' treatment of pets.
Fines will be issued to those who leave their dogs tied up for more than six hours a day or keep them in cramped conditions for prolonged periods.
But those who allow their dogs off the leash or to bathe in public fountains, ponds or streams could also be fined up to 500 euros. The feeding of stray dogs and cats in the street could bring a fine of up to 150 euros.
Although the new regulations have been branded "absurd" by some animal lovers in the Catalan city, authorities claim the fines will only be imposed in the case of disputes.
"We are not going to be going from house to house to enforce these rules," said Enric Pardo, city councillor for the environment. "But we now have the means to penalise owners who are found negligent following a complaint from a neighbour."
The new law will also allow authorities to issue fines up to 2000 euros to those owners who fail to obtain the correct license for keeping "dangerous breeds" and for taking them out in public without a muzzle.