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Most pet owners never want to intentionally want to hurt their animals. Even stepping on their foot accidentally sends people into fits of sadness because that look they give you is heartbreaking enough.
But animal lovers in the Australian Capital Territory will soon be under pressure to ensure their pet's feelings aren't hurt.
New laws are being considered this week that could see owners heavily fined if they don't toe the line.
Some of the rules include a limit on the number of dogs you're allowed to walk in public at any given time (which will be three), as it will hopefully improve safety and limit dog attacks.
You could cop a $3,750 fine if you don't provide sufficient shelter, grooming and exercise for your animal as well. So if your pet isn't allowed in the house then you better get a roof over its head.
People who leave their pet locked inside a car will now be at the mercy of passers by because they'll be able to smash the window to ensure the animal is okay. In addition to a smashed window, you'll also get a $3,200 fine.
The laws would make it the first time in Australia that an animal would legally be considered a 'sentient being' and owners would be responsible for their wellbeing.
While they've always been in charge of the animal's feelings and welfare, this wording will make it legally binding.
ACT City Services Minister Chris Steel said: "The science tells us that animals are sentient. I know with my dog he gets very excited when we're about to go on a run.
"I think most dog owners, most cat owners know their animals do feel emotion.
"All animals should have a good quality of life, and we want to strengthen our laws to ensure that all animals are respected and properly cared for in the ACT.
"We know that Canberrans really value and care for the welfare animals in our community and our Government is moving to strengthen protections for the welfare of animals and our approach to animal cruelty."
Hopefully these laws take us one step closer to ensuring animals across the ACT are safe and happy. There's nothing worse than seeing an animal in pain or distress and if this legislation stops just one dog or cat or something experiencing that then we can all be happy.
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