Web savvy pets look for soul playmates online

If you feel guilty about leaving your pet alone at home during the day, help is at hand, as enthusiasts in Ukraine have created a social network for pets.

Called “Muzzles” (“Mordashki,” in Russian), the net allows pet owners to exchange experiences and find walking buddies for their animals.

There are already around 300 users from Russia, Ukraine and Estonia.

Apart from cats and dogs, owners have registered several iguanas, pigs and even insects.

While different kinds of animal centers are well established in the West, the idea has yet to catch on in Russia. So far there is only one animal fitness and rehabilitation center – “Dog Palace” in Moscow. The center offers, among other things, “doga,” or canine yoga, classes.

There is also a taxi company specializing in animal transportation, called “Zootaxi.” If you take this special pet taxi, you do not need any muzzles or cages. All drivers have been given a special course on how to deal with their four-legged passengers.

Russia has also been paying more and more attention to animal-related laws. Following seven years of heated debates, Moscow authorities came up with a draft law on keeping pets.

The draft draws a clear line between private and public pets, obliging the owners of the first category to provide animals with necessary food, living conditions, veterinary help and daily walks. Private owners will also have to clean up after their pets’ waste and prevent their pets from biting people and contracting diseases.

Apart from setting obligations, the draft imposes a number of restrictions. For example, children below 14 and adults in a state of intoxication will be forbidden to walk dogs weighing more than 15 kilograms, or those considered to be of dangerous breed – such as American Staffordshire Terrier, Bull Terrier, Caucasian mountain dog, Rottweiler, Shar Pei and 35 others.

In addition, the draft law forbids walking more than two dogs at once without a muzzle (if a dog is a dangerous breed) and a leash (all breeds). The owner will not be allowed to walk pets near schools, hospitals, health centers and kindergartens.

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