Hanafi Gibali, speaker of Egypt's House of Representatives, referred on Monday a draft law aimed at banning citizens from having dogs and dangerous animals without a prior licence to the Agriculture and Animal Wealth Committee for study.
The bill, drafted by the Chair of the House's Local Administration Committee Ahmed El-Sigini, states that citizens can not have or hold dogs without a prior license from the veterinary medicine directorate.
The draft law also requires veterinary medicine directorates to hold electronic and paper registration files for licensed dogs, containing information including “the name of the dog's holder, his/her place of living, and detailed description of the licensed dog," adding that "each licensed dog should have a serial number,” displayed on a tag around its neck.
In addition, dogs will be required to wear muzzles and be restrained by a leash while in public.
El-Sigini said the House's Local Administration Committee has received many letters from citizens, complaining about dogs attacking them and their kids. "Everywhere on the streets of Cairo and other major cities, you will find stray dogs running around housing buildings, scavenging garbage for food, and trying to bite citizens, particularly children," said El-Sigini, adding that "these dogs, unsanitary and dirty, have become a big danger, and so the bill comes to bring this phenomenon under control.
On the other side, said El-Sigini, the ownership of pets also has to be regulated. "The media has repeatedly reported about private dogs attacking people and causing them serious injuries, and so the possession of this kind of dogs and other dangerous animals has also to be regulated," said El-Sigini.
El-Sigini said his proposed law on the ownership and handling of dangerous animals and dogs are consistent with international agreements signed by Egypt.
The draft law also mandates current owners acquire a license within six months of the law’s passage, which will cost between EGP 1,000 to EGP 15,000.
The minimum age for ownership will be 16 years of age.
Owning a dog without a licence will be subject to a prison sentence ranging from three months to one year, and a fine ranging from EGP 50,000 to EGP 100,000.
Article three of the proposed bill defines dangerous animals as those which could cause serious harm or damage to man's body or health. As for animal holders, they are the ones who own, hold, keep, shelter, breed, or guard animals on a permanent or temporary basis.
The article states that the word "handling" will include all operations related to the selling, importing, exporting, exchanging, borrowing, displaying or transporting dangerous animals and dogs.
The article states that holders or owners of dangerous animals will be banned from walking them in public places. "They will be required to take all the necessary precautions that their dangerous animals be vaccinated against diseases specified by the concerned minister (the minister of agriculture)," said the article. Holders will be also required to provide healthy food for their animals and in adequate quantities.
The article states that scientific research centres and institutions, animal parks, and circuses will be also required to get a licence before holding dangerous animals.