Reykjavík City Council wants to wrestle the power to set rules on pets in public places from the state and has sent a request to the government, following a council vote.
Hildur Sverrisdóttir, Independence Party councilor, made the proposal that rules on pets in public places should be the responsibility of municipalities. She describes the proposed change as the first step in the direction of people’s natural right to choose.
The proposal was approved by all members of the council except the Progressive Party and Airport Friends (which is one party), who abstained.
Hildur put her proposal forward following news that residents of Brynja, the housing fund of the Organization of Disabled in Iceland, have suddenly been told they are to be forced to get rid of their pets or lose their homes. Hildur said that was what pushed her to make the proposal, but that it has much wider application.
The proposal covers all areas outside of private homes, including restaurants, cafés, gyms, theaters and hotels. “We should be able to do better,” Hildur told RÚV. “It often seems easier to ban [dogs] than to acknowledge the diverse rainbow of different people.”
She says she wants more flexible rules that give people more freedom. “If a café wants to allow pets, then people who don’t like it can choose another café.”
Hildur hopes that her proposal will make Reykjavík a more animal friendly city; pointing to research which states that closeness with animals is good for people.
As it is, dogs (and other pets) are not allowed in any café, hotel (though some allow dogs in certain sleeping bag accommodation rooms), bar, bus, coach or public building anywhere in the country. Dogs are also not allowed on Reykjavík shopping streets and are supposed to be on a leash everywhere within city, town or village limits—even in parks.
Dog and cat owners must register their animals and pay for an annual license.