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People Who Don’t Walk Their Dogs Face $2,700 Fines in This Australian Territory

A new law recognizes animal sentience.

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Australia’s capital region has imposed strict new requirements for how pets should be treated.

Failing to walk your dog at least once a day, for example, can result in a fine of up to $2,700 (AU$4,000), CNN reports.

Australian Capital Territory’s Legislative Assembly recently passed legislation to recognize animals as sentient beings. It’s the first jurisdiction in Australia to do so.

“These new laws will make the ACT a national leader in animal welfare, and reflects a zero tolerance approach to animal cruelty,” Minister for City Services Chris Steel said in a press release.

“Modern animal welfare is about considering how an animal is coping both mentally and physically with the conditions in which it lives.

“For the first time under law we are recognising the science, that animals are sentient, and they feel emotion and pain.”

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The territory includes the capital city of Canberra and some surrounding townships.

Steel continued: “People who do not properly care for their animals, such as failing to provide a dog with water or shelter, face new on the spot fines. Fines for these offences can now be easily issued by officers as part of the new escalating enforcement framework to deter further acts of cruelty from happening.”

Under the new laws, if serious animal welfare abuses are committed, the Animal Welfare Authority can impose an interim ownership ban of up to six months. The authority can also seize, retain, sell or rehome an animal where appropriate.

The maximum penalties for serious cruelty offenses have also been increased with up to three years jail time for aggravated cruelty.

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