Saturday, April 23, 2005

Walk thy dog, lest thy god smite you

Note that I wrote "god" with a lowercase g, which in this case is the almighty state that decides what's good for you, what's bad for you, and what you should do. You just can't make this stuff up:
ROME (Reuters) - Dog owners in Turin will be fined up to 500 euros ($650) 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 La Stampa daily reported.

Italians can already be fined up to 10,000 euros and spend a year in prison if found guilty of torturing or abandoning their pets, 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 neighbors, La Stampa reported.

It said the 20-page rulebook gives Turin the most stringent animal protection rules in the country. It even bans fairgrounds from giving away goldfish in plastic bags.
I can't remember the last time I heard of any law so blatantly ridiculous. This isn't just an animal rights law, it's a law declaring, "We're from the government and by God, we're the ultimate authority on every part of your life."

Big government, in its claimed benevolence and self-professed omniscience, can plan society so well that it even knows your dog's precise needs. What about the elderly or handicapped who like dogs but can't walk them three times a day, but whose dogs nonetheless enjoy the companionship? What about some dogs that don't like to be walked? Mine didn't, being a true and very lazy house dog. We had fenced front and back yards, so we'd let him out to do his business, or so he could stretch out on the lawn and enjoy "his" domain. It was so funny how the pooch really did consider it all "his" territory.

Note that part about "tipsters" to alert the police. Got a grudge against your neighbor? Accuse him of not walking his dog. Did you get stuck in traffic on the way home from work? You'd better eat out or order out if you won't have time to cook dinner and take Rover out.

Sadly, I fear many more thousands of dogs will be abandoned on the street, because owners will no longer be able to take care of them "as mandated by law." Like the minimum wage and France's 35-hour work week, it demonstrates the law of unintended consequences. Yes, some will be better off, but others will be left behind. Government didn't think anyone would be left worse off, because it didn't account for incentive.


Blogger Brad Warbiany said...

Yeah, I'd like to see some government bureaucrat try to come into my house and deal with my dogs. That's 10 lbs (combined between the two of them) of snarling, barking fury! They'll tear his ankle flesh right off the bone...

Monday, April 25, 2005 5:46:00 PM  

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