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31 Mar, 2020 10:03

Russian dog owners offer pets for rent as excuse to walk outside despite Covid-19 ‘stay home’ order

Russian dog owners offer pets for rent as excuse to walk outside despite Covid-19 ‘stay home’ order

The introduction of strict quarantine in most of Russia has left people with few legit excuses to go outside. As a result, some dog owners are offering to rent their pets to restless clients, so they can circumvent the new rules.

Under the regulations, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, only a handful of exceptions are made to the "stay home" demand. They include dog owners who need to walk their pets, but even they are expected to keep the walks short and not stray further than 100 meters from base. 

The loophole creates an obvious temporary business opportunity. Want to have a pretext to be outside and not risk a fine — why not rent a dog? The idea was all over Russian social media and some news outlets on Tuesday.

Finding a person willing to loan his or her pet is easy on VK.com, Russia’s popular alternative to Facebook. On closer inspection however it seems most of the posters there are simply joking, considering such offers often go with a suggestion to take out the author’s trash — another daily chore that can be done under the quarantine rules.

Others post memes: “Meet Pooch, the only dog in our apartment block. He had 60 walks today.”

A handful of people may be actually committed to the business scheme, according to the newspaper Izvestia. At least they advertise their services through free online boards and have mentioned some details of the proposed arrangement, like the value of a cash deposit, or covering the cost of a taxi if the dog is located on the other side of Moscow.

Russians are hardly pioneers in using clever tricks to dodge quarantine. The Spanish police denounced rent-a-dog ads targeting would-be confinement breakers. And Spain's environment officials warned that animals adopted for the sole purpose of going outside may end up abandoned after the epidemic lockdown is lifted.

Also on rt.com A drone’s best friend: Pet lover finds ingenious solution to coronavirus lockdown (VIDEO)

How popular the service would be in Russia is still debatable. On the same small ad pages, one could find, for example, an online drinking buddy. One such message says that for a small fee you’d get a guy fluent in three foreign languages with a ton of stories about his days in Africa, who can sing a client’s favorite song after a drink or three.

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