Prague, Czech Republic – Prague city hall is preparing to pass a decree that would ban people from walking their dogs without a leash in any green area within the city.
The proposal is being drafted by the city hall’s Department of Environmental Protection. Municipal councillors are expected to discuss the matter once input and feedback from individual city districts have been incorporated within the document.
The draft decree would come into force by October 1, but there are some doubts whether it could be adopted so quickly in its current form.
A similar proposal was made in 2017 but was eventually voted down by Prague district councillors.
Any person walking a dog in a public greenery area would, under the proposal, be obliged to lead the dog on a leash in such a way that it “does not impede the movement” of other pedestrians. Only specifically designated areas, which can also be added within parks or other public greenery spaces, would allow owners to walk their dog freely.
The authors of the text say the ban would prevent people from being attacked by dogs, as happened in the spring when a four-year-old boy was bitten by a dog on Petrin Hill.
In response, critics of the proposal claim some dogs can adopt a more aggressive and violent behaviour precisely when they’re on a leash, and that the restriction would therefore not serve its purpose.
If approved, the ban is bound to be met with some resistance in a country famous for its dog-loving culture and a city where many venues and activities take pride in remaining as dog-friendly as possible.
As reminded by Seznam Zpravy, many European capitals already have binding rules in place for walking dogs in public spaces. In Vienna, a specified list of “potentially dangerous dogs” must be on leash at all times, while London dogs must also be on a lead in designated areas of the city.
At the end of 2020, a total of 90,000 dogs were officially registered in Prague, although the real figure is believed to be much higher.