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Less Than 50% Urban Dog Owners Register Dogs
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Less than half urban dog owners in China registered their pets with local civil affairs departments and about 70 percent of urbanites thought registration fees are too high, according to a survey.

"Urban dog owners choose not to register their pet dogs due to high registration fees, complicated procedures and few services offered after registration," said a survey conducted by Horizon-China, covering 1,553 residents aged between 18 and 65 from Tianjin, Shanghai and Shenzhen cities.

The survey showed that 8.2 percent of urbanites in the three cities were raising pet dogs.

Residents would register their dogs if the government provided free dog vaccines, favorable medical treatment fees for dogs and special public places for dogs, it said.

But the government may not want too many dogs in cities. Last month a Chinese lawmaker proposed a tax on dog owners to dampen urbanites' enthusiasm for raising pets, partly because the fear of rabies is rising with an increasing number of urban pet dogs.

Dog owners should pay taxes to contribute to the expenses city managers incur for the pet dogs, such as collecting canine dejections, the lawmaker said.

Rabies, often spread by dogs, attacks the nervous system and is fatal to humans if not treated prior to the onset of symptoms. With a death rate of about 84 percent, rabies has been one of the most deadly infectious diseases in China.

Rabies killed more than 2,000 people across the country in 2006, according to media reports.

(Xinhua News Agency April 7, 2007)

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