Quebec dog owners howl over coronavirus curfew rules; ministry backpedals: reports

Why a dog-walking exception wasn’t included in new rules wasn’t clear, a report said

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Health ministry officials in Quebec, Canada, had their tails between their legs Saturday after facing backlash for new coronavirus-related curfew rules that don’t allow dog owners to walk their pets between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

A previous version of the curfew rules allowed residents to help their pets take care of business in the overnight hours, provided they remained within 1 kilometer (3,280 feet) of their home, CTV News reported. Why the exception wasn’t included in the newest rules wasn’t clear, the outlet reported.

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"What if you can’t walk your dog [before curfew] because of work or other restraints?" asked Louise Makovsky, a dog owner and animal activist, according to CTV News.

"What if you can’t walk your dog [before curfew] because of work or other restraints?"

— Louise Makovsky, dog owner and animal activist

Other previously existing exceptions, such as allowing residents to visit a gas station or go to the aid of someone in need of help, were preserved in the revised rules, the Montreal Gazette reported.

Before Christmas, Quebec Premier Francois Legault said decisions on new coronavirus rules would depend on "the capacity we will or will not have to treat sick Quebecers over the coming weeks," the Post Millennial reported.

A health ministry representative said Saturday that the new rules will soon be adjusted to accommodate dog owners.

Quebec dog owners hope to be allowed to walk their pets during overnight hours.

Quebec dog owners hope to be allowed to walk their pets during overnight hours. (iStock)

"It is the intention of the government to include this missing exception again as soon as possible," the representative wrote to CTV News. But exactly when that would happen remained unclear, the report said.

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The backpedaling pledge came after dog owners expressed outrage about the revised rules.

In Montreal, no tickets had been issued to any dog owners for violating the curfew rules, a police spokesperson told CTV News.