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Citizen wardens to ease pet woes
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Community dog specialists are going to be recruited in Beijing, as part of a government plan to solve the dog menace in the city by involving more citizens in the process.

"The government used to be solely responsible for controlling and managing dogs. Now we would like the communities to get involved in dealing with dogs and dog owners," said Yu Hongyuan, deputy director of the Beijing municipal public security bureau, as quoted by Beijing Daily yesterday.

The new community recruits will work closely with the public. Their duties would include making uninformed dog owners more aware of the statutory control measures, tell them about the existing laws and how to avoid bad behaviors and how best to toilet train their pets, besides helping to facilitate training programs for dogs, said the dog management office from the bureau.

Chaoyang and Haidian districts will recruit three to five dog specialists each, to tackle dog-related problems from the source, on a trial basis. Volunteers will also be recruited to inform and counsel the public on dog-related matters and clean up dog wastes within the community.

"If the trial run proves to be successful, more dog specialists will be recruited in other districts of Beijing," said Yu.

According to the dog management office of Beijing's public security bureau, dog excreta lying around and unvaccinated dogs on the loose pose health threats to the public in Beijing. It is the government's policy to encourage dog owners to behave responsibly, in order to eliminate the hazards. This will be achieved through a combination of enforcement, encouragement and education.

"My dog has never been vaccinated," said 56-year-old Li Fengxia, a retired owner of a Husky, living in Chaoyang district. "I cannot afford to pay 200 yuan (US$29) a year to do so."

"I always clean up after my dog, as every responsible dog owner should do," said Chen Jun, a beagle owner in her 50's.

Dog owners have to register their pets with the police after obtaining permits from the community residents' committees, according to Beijing Dog Management Regulations.

The regulations also state that every dog walker has a responsibility of cleaning up after his pet relieves itself. Anyone who fails to do so could be fined 50 yuan.

(China Daily April 17, 2009)

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