Watch out, dog owners!

Two women squatting down with a dog; one woman holds the dog on a leash, the othe woman shows the dog-handling licence to the camera

Attention, please: police checks for muzzles, chips and dog handling licences! Since 1 September 2015, police in Vienna and the relevant municipal department have again been conducting stricter checks to ensure compliance with dog-keeping rules.

"People and dogs coexist harmoniously and most pet owners stick to the rules of the game and legal regulations," says Ulli Sima, the Executive City Councillor responsible for animal welfare, expressing her satisfaction with dog owners' conduct.

An overview of the "rules of the game"

89 percent of Vienna’s citizens voted in favour of mandatory dog-handling licences for registered dogs in a referendum in 2010, and the City of Vienna immediately introduced this measure. Since then, 6,250 mandatory dog-handling licences have been issued. Based on an external evaluation by Vienna’s University of Veterinary Medicine, this measure has helped to reduce the number of biting incidents by registered dogs by 63 percent. All dogs, big or small, must be muzzled or kept on a lead in public places in Vienna, and dog owners have a legal obligation to muzzle their dogs in all heavily-frequented places, e.g. on public transport, in restaurants or at events.

Poo bags

Cleanliness rules are a major concern of the Viennese. The city’s so-called "WasteWatchers" make sure that dog owners actually use the waste bags provided by 3,000 dispensers to pick up the mess left behind by their four-legged friends. Dog walkers who do not comply with this clean-up rule face a fine of EUR 36, as is clearly displayed on signs. 169 off-leash dog parks (with a total surface of 1,235,926) provide the animals with enough space to exercise off the lead and make it easy for owners to comply with the law banning dogs from playgrounds, cemeteries, the Lainzer Tiergarten nature reserve and the Steinhofgründe recreation area.

Austrian dogs are microchipped

Since January 2010, it has been compulsory for all dogs kept in Austria to be implanted with electronically-readable microchips, enabling dogs that have run away or been otherwise lost or left behind to be found much faster.

The aim of the current police campaign concerning dogs is to re-focus Viennese pet owners’ attention on these rules. "Dog-keepers who fail to comply with them will face charges," explains Christof Hetzmannseder from the Vienna Police.

Source: wieninternational.at

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