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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2005, 19:11 GMT 20:11 UK
Rome dogs win right to daily walk
Dog on a leash
Dogs in Rome are now legally entitled to be walked every day
The city of Rome is cracking down on careless pet owners by introducing fines for those who fail to take their dog out on regular walks.

Docking pets' tails and ears has also been made illegal, and can cost owners anything up to 500 euros.

Round fish bowls, believed to make fish blind, are deemed cruel, too, and banned under the new set of rules.

The by-law aims at protecting hundreds of thousands of cats, dogs and other species living in the Italian capital.

Other new rules include:
Pets must not be left locked inside cars in the hot season
Animals cannot be kept in shop windows
Trimming cats' claws for aesthetic purposes is forbidden
Electric and pointed dog collars are banned
On new construction sites, cat colonies must be taken care of
Animals cannot be offered as prizes at fairs

"The civilization of a city can also be measured by this," Monica Cirinna, the councillor who sponsored the by-law, told Rome-based newspaper Il Messaggero.

"It's good to do whatever we can for our pets who, in exchange for a little love, fill our existence with their attention."

The rules are aimed at giving millions of pets, wild birds and other animals who live in the Italian capital - including 150,000 dogs and 300,000 cats - a dignified existence, compatible with their biological needs, local media report.

The council also officially acknowledges the role played by so-called "gattare" - or cat ladies - who can be spotted feeding colonies of stray cats in modern neighbourhoods as well as among ancient ruins.

It is not yet clear how the rules will be enforced, as pets will remain unaware of their newly-acquired rights.

The city council's Animal Rights Office has vowed to spread the news through campaigns in schools, vets' surgeries and animal rights organisations.

It will also recruit new personnel which will work side by side with city police.


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