Knesset Advances 'Kaya Netanyahu Law' to Spare Biting Dogs From Kennel Quarantine

The bill, which passed first reading, would enable such dogs to be confined at home

Benjamin Netanyahu with his dog Kaya.
Amos Ben Gershom / GPO

The Knesset passed the first reading of a bill on Wednesday that would allow dogs that bite others to be confined at home, rather than in a kennel.

The bill has been unofficially dubbed the “Kaya Law” after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s dog, who was quarantined briefly in 2015 after biting two people.

The bill advanced in a special recess session after the opposition mistakenly voted it down last week, contrary to an agreement that had been reached with the coalition. Nineteen lawmakers came to the debate and the vote was 18-1 in favor.

In addition to providing the option of confinement at home, the bill regulates the kennels in various cities and updates the requirements for certifying municipal inspectors in this field.

The previous vote on the bill was held last Wednesday evening, a short time before the Knesset finished its debates and adjourned for its summer recess. Several members of the coalition had left the plenum by then, after an agreement had been reached between the coalition and opposition to pass the bill. But Zionist Union MK Itzik Shmuli, who had led the opposition to the bill, addressed the MKs at the last minute and persuaded his opposition colleagues to vote the bill down. The final vote was a 12-12 tie, which meant the bill was defeated. In accordance with regulations the bill was brought for a revote during the recess.

In his address last week, Shmuli said, “The number of rabies cases in Israel annually can be counted on one hand. Yet under Clause 11 of this law, a veterinarian can come to any area – a week ago it was the Beit Shemesh area – to say that he thinks, he has a feeling, without criteria or any limits on his judgment – and say, ‘in this entire area I want to start shooting dogs and cats.’ Just like that.”

Shmuli on Wednesday expressed regret that the opposition MKs had voted against the bill despite the agreements with coalition chairman David Biton. He made it clear that he continues to oppose one clause in the law and demanded to limit the authority of municipal inspectors to kill stray animals.