Serbia’s dog walking ban sparks outrage among pet owners

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The Serbian government’s decision on Saturday to ban dog walking in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus  is provoking outrage among pet owners.

Frustrated dog owners have taken to social media to warn that the ban could harm their dogs’ health and cause frustration and anxiety for both the animals and their owners.

A woman walks with dogs in a deserted street amid the coronavirus outbreak in downtown Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, March 26, 2020. 

A woman walks with dogs in a deserted street amid the coronavirus outbreak in downtown Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, March 26, 2020.  (AP)

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.”

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

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The country has imposed some of the harshest measures in Europe against the spread of COVID-19, 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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As of Sunday, Serbia has nearly 660 cases with 10 confirmed deaths, according to the latest data from the Johns Hopkins University.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.