Phnom Penh Governor Pa Socheatvong warned dog owners at a meeting on Friday that an existing ban on their furry friends in the city’s parks will soon be enforced, with measures that may include temporary confiscation of offending pets.
While the ban on dogs is not new, City Hall spokesman Met Measpheakdey said it has not been effective thus far.
“The dog owners do not control their dogs’ pee and poo. [They] just don’t care,” he said. “Placing the [no pets signs] is not effective so far . . . So now we are going to seriously do something about this.”
According to Measpheakdey, dogs brought to the parks will be taken away from their owners by the authorities and only returned after the owners make a written promise not to do it again.
“If they keep doing it we will take more serious action,” he said, though specific punishments have not been decided yet.
One pet shop owner who asked to be identified only by her first name, Donnabelle, said that responsible pet ownership is a problem, as clearing up after pets may not come as a habit for many Cambodians.
Nonetheless, she saw the measures as unfairly punishing dog owners in need of an outdoor space for their pets.
“Cambodians should rise up and do something about this . . . There are larger issues that [the government] should be focusing on,” she said.
Will Barton, dog trainer for Good Dog Cambodia, called it an “absolute outrage and infringement on people’s and pets’ civil liberties and rights”.
“In a city with a serious lack of public parks and any pleasant public spaces for its people and their pets to enjoy, to now say dog owners cannot walk their dogs in the few places left to them is too much,” he said.