There are over 150,000 dogs and 300,000 cats in the city of Rome, and local media has explained that the new laws are designed to provide them with a dignified existence, compatible with their biological needs. Among the new laws, owners must exercise their dogs properly, with all dogs now entitle to "regular" walks.
Docking pets’ tails and ears has also been made illegal, as has trimming cats’ claws for aesthetic purposes. On new construction sites, cat colonies must be taken care of rather than poisoned or culled. Among the new rules are many which are seen as overdue, and that are already in law in many European countries, such as the offering of any animal as a prize, locking pets inside cars in hot weather and keeping animals in shop windows.
"The civilization of a city can be measured by this," Monica Cirinna, the councillor who sponsored the by-law, told Rome-based newspaper Il Messaggero.
The city council’s Animal Rights Office will spread the news through campaigns in schools, vets’ surgeries and animal rights organizations, and will also recruit new personnel which will work side by side with city police.
However critics say that even though these new laws are welcomed in theory, putting them into practice and punishing offenders will be far from easy, especially since pets will be unaware of their newly-acquired rights. Critics also suggest there are not enough specifics to the regulations, such as how many miles or for how long dogs must be walked.