On July 1, Beijing's public security bureau said there were 458,773 pet dogs registered in the capital, 52,556 of them new, by last Thursday's registration deadline, but that many owners have not paid fees. Meanwhile, questions have been raised about how revenue from the fees is spent.
A regulation approved by the city's municipal people's congress in 2003 set the dog registration fee at 1,000 yuan (US$121) for the first year of registration and 500 yuan (US$60) for each following year.
This was a reduction from 5,000 yuan (US$604) in the first year and 2,000 yuan (US$242) for subsequent years.
An anonymous local government official said that revenue raised from fees since 2003 is supposed to be passed on to central government funds but that this hasn't actually happened since last July, when it began to be used for local salaries instead.
Zhang Qiang, an animal protection volunteer, calculated that total revenues should now total more than 280 million yuan (US$33.8 million).
China Times reported that the public security bureau refused to say whether this amount had been collected, or how the money would be spent this year, but the anonymous local official said this amount had definitely not been raised.
Zhang questioned why the pet registration fee was needed and why it didn't cover such things as medical treatment and insurance to cover compensation if a dog bit someone.
One owner named Wang said she was pleased to pay less for registration now, but added, "I just want to know how the local public security bureau spends the money and whether it can be used to provide services to pet owners."
According to the local public security bureau, the police have confiscated 1,609 dogs for not being registered. Bureau official Tang Liyun said his officers would crack down on unregistered dogs in the first two weeks of July.
(China.org.cn by Wu Nanlan July 7, 2005)