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Find out the rules for walking the dog

Adelchi Rainone

Walking the dog according to the law: the rules to be respected

What are all the indications for taking your dog for a walk without contravening the law? Let's find out below.

There are over 60 million pets living under Italians' roofs and a large number of these are dogs. But what are all the rules that must be respected when we decide to walk the dog?

In this article we will see what is allowed and what is prohibited by law when we leave the house to walk with our 4-legged friend. If you are interested in how to bring your dog in the car, we refer you to this article.

The issue is regulated by the ordinance of 13 July 2016, published in the Gazzetta on 7 September, which clarifies some fundamental points reported below.

Is it mandatory for the dog to be walked on a leash?

According to the law, yes: every time you leave the house with your dog you must therefore have a leash, but not only that.

As a rule, the leash must not exceed one and a half meters in length and this also applies to extendable leashes.

If you are in possession of one of these, the leash must be blocked at 1.50 m to avoid violating the regulations. The only exception to the rule occurs in parks designated by the municipality as dog parks. In these the dog will be able to move around without restrictions on the length of the leash or even loose ones.

Is a dog muzzle mandatory?

The ordinance specifies that there is an obligation to always have a muzzle with you, but it is not necessary for the dog to wear it every time it leaves the house.

In fact, according to what the text reports, a muzzle, whether rigid or soft, is only necessary in situations where the safety of other people or animals is at risk.

However, it is mandatory to wear a muzzle to your dog if the authorities request it.

Is cleaning when the dog gets dirty mandatory?

Obviously, as was already known, yes, by law the owner of the dog, or the person to whom the dog is entrusted to go out, must be provided with the appropriate tools to clean the street if the dog dirty it while carrying out its functions.

The sanctions for those who do not comply with the obligation also include fines, some of up to €300, even if those issued so far appear to be very few.

As regards the duty to always have a bottle of water with you to clean where the dog pees, the law does not specify whether it is mandatory or not.

Past cases include a fine of €167 which was imposed because the owner let his dogs urinate on a bin in a restaurant in the province of Verona.

However, the law does not have precise directives in this regard. There are those who identify the dirtying of the wall by the dog as a crime of soiling, which therefore should be punished by applying the legislation in force on the matter, but the Court of Cassation in dealing with a case in which the circumstance described above had occurred did not demonstrate that it was entirely I agree.

In fact, it stated that no matter how educated the animal may have been, the place where it decides to carry out its needs is not predictable. Therefore, if the owner cleans the wall smeared by his pet with a bottle of water, it cannot be considered a crime.

Despite this, the law does not explicitly mention obligations on the owner.

Can you take your dog for a bike ride?

The law is clear on this point: it is absolutely forbidden to take your dog for a walk on a bicycle. This is established by article 182, paragraph 3 of the Highway Code which states: "cyclists are prohibited from driving animals or being towed by another vehicle". The fine for anyone who violates this rule can vary from €22 to €88.