Some members of the Vienna Dog Team, Source: City of Vienna

The Vienna Dog Team: a good example for all of Austria

The Vienna Dog Team: a good example for all of Austria

The country’s capital has been a pioneer in crafting policy and initiatives to improve coexistence between people and pets

Last month, the City of Vienna launched a new task force on the streets called the Vienna Dog Team (Wiener Hunde-Team). It consists of 20 people, who are certified veterinarians with additional training as an animal welfare control officer, and whose job is to go around the city to advise and educate people on proper dog care.

The team has the job of helping clarify regulations regarding dog care both to dog owners and non-owners so that there can be an improved coexistence between them as well as between humans and animals.

Although the Dog Team officers wear civilian clothes, they have clearly recognizable jackets and badges so that they will be recognizable to the public. It seems that they will have some policing powers in their field, including issuing warnings to dog owners and filing reports for infractions, such as dogs not registered on the mandatory pet database, failure to pay dog tax, or dogs being walked without a leash or muzzle.

Responsible dog ownership

The Dog Team is only the latest initiative of the Austrian capital to promote a policy of responsible and knowledgeable dog ownership. For that purpose, the City has created an Animal Welfare Ombudsman’s Office, and since 2019, new dog owners in Vienna have been taught basic knowledge about purchasing, keeping, caring for and training dogs as well as the legal regulations before adopting an animal.

It looks like the Austrian federal government has taken note of these initiatives and is now considering using them as a standard to implement nationwide legislation, which would mandate that people willing to own a dog must complete a course beforehand. This could also lead to the creation of Dog Teams in other cities as well.



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