DOG owners will have to take their pets for at least 10 kilometres of walks daily from today under a controversial new animal welfare law – or face eye watering fines of up to €10,000.
The little known clause has been rushed through Parliament ahead of the full implementation of the Animal Protection Law in order to cover animals given as Christmas presents.
Government spokesman Juan Clis explained that scientific studies had found that 10 kilometres was the minimum of exercise that dogs of all shapes and sizes require to stay fit and healthy.
He said: “It is vital that dogs get this amount of exercise, and it is good for their owners too.
“In this way we can ensure our pets are happy and healthy at the same time as fighting the worsening obesity crisis amongst humans.”
In order to make sure each dog gets its allotted walks, the latest technology will be used.
Juan Clis continued: “All dogs will have to be registered and implanted with a special GPS tracking device costing €500 at the owner’s expense.
“This will automatically track the animal’s movements. To make sure the dogs are actually walking and not being carried in handbags or chauffeured in cars, local town halls will be tasked with using camera drones to ensure no one is cheating.”
The new law has not been welcomed by far right political group Vox, which insists it discriminates against Spaniards.
Vox spokesman Alfredo Garnéto said: “Many true-born Spanish people have shorter legs than Ethiopians, for example. This means that in order to accomplish the 10 kilometres target they have to take many more steps than immigrants.
“It is just another way immigrants get preferential treatment in this country. It is an absolute disgrace!”
Juan Clis brushed away such concerns, saying that Spaniards tended to be fatter than newly arrived immigrants, so needed the exercise more anyway.
He continued: “All data collected will be sent to a centralised computer system under the control of the newly created Ministerio de Pasos Tontos in Madrid, which will be responsible for handing out fines of up to €10,000 for repeat offenders.”
Juan Clis added: “I can think of no better day to launch this new initiative – December 28 or the Dia de los Santos inocentes.”