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British official proposes new pet rules

LONDON, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Britain's environment secretary has sparked controversy with a list of proposed new rules that could mean jail time for pet owners who walk dogs on hot days.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn's proposed new codes of conduct for dog, cat and horse owners include rules that would allow for prosecution under the Animal Welfare Act of 2006, of pet owners whose animals become too thin, become too fat, are fed from the table or are walked on hot days, The Daily Mail reported Tuesday.

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"This means no one will be able to claim ignorance as an excuse," Benn said.

Some officials said they believe the new code of conduct goes too far.

"Some of these elements are over the top. This is not the sort of stuff we expected to be in the code," Conservative agriculture spokesman Jim Paice said.

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