Dog-walking ban to fight virus causes outrage in Serbia

Angry dog owners have flooded social networks, warning that the ban could harm their dogs’ health and cause frustration and anxiety for both the animals and their owners.

Women walk with dogs on the street in Glenview, Ill., Friday, March 27, 2020.
Women walk with dogs on the street in Glenview, Ill., Friday, March 27, 2020. –(Nam Y. Huh / AP Photo)

BELGRADE, Serbia — Pet owners in Serbia are furious over the populist government’s decision to ban even a brief walk for people with dogs during an evening curfew to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

Angry dog owners have flooded social networks, warning that the ban could harm their dogs’ health and cause frustration and anxiety for both the animals and their owners.

Veterinarian Nenad Milojkovic said protecting animal rights is a test for a society during hard times such as an epidemic. He said skipping the evening walk could worsen the condition for the dogs with urinary problems and “aggravate basic hygienic conditions in people’s homes.”

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Serbia’s government made the decision on Saturday, revoking a previously introduced 20-minute permission for dog owners to walk their pets.

Serbia has imposed some of the harshest measures in Europe against the spread of the new coronavirus, including a total ban on movement for people over 65 years and a curfew from 5 p.m. until 5 a.m.

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