Lawmakers in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, plan to pass a regulation limiting every household to only one pet dog - and that dog should not be a large or fierce one.
The city's people's congress is amending a draft rule on pet hounds that is expected to curb a spate of dog-related problems that has flared up recently.
The draft bans every urban household from raising more than one dog and rules out big dogs or those with aggressive temperaments. It has been submitted to the 29th meeting of the 13th session of Nanjing People's Congress for approval.
The local public security and health bureaus have released a list of 26 dog breeds that grow to less than 35 cm tall and therefore meet the size requirement in the draft. Specific standards for other breeds will be released later.
In addition, more public places have been added to the list of places that are off limits to dogs. "No dogs" signs will appear not only at hospitals, schools, museums, theaters, restaurants, shopping malls and hotels, but also at kindergartens, children's playgrounds, scenic spots, banks and security exchanges.
"The number of pet dogs in Nanjing has increased sharply in recent years, as have the numbers of disputes over dog bites, excrement and barking at night," said Xiang Taiyang, deputy director of Legislative Committee of Nanjing Municipal People's Congress.
"A more enforceable regulation is needed," he said.
There are nearly 93,000 dogs in Nanjing, of which more than a third are living in urban areas, according to Zhu Yaohui, vice-president of Nanjing Dogs Association.
Statistics show that more than 30,000 people have had to be treated with rabies vaccines after being bitten or scratched by dogs. Four people died of the disease last year.
The draft also places limits on the times and places open to pet owners for walking their dogs.
It also specifies that leashes must be no longer than 1.5 meters, and that dog excrement must be cleaned up.
Violations of any of the above rules could result in fines of up to 1,000 yuan (US$130).
The responsibility of dealing with disputes involving dogs falls to the police. Police generally respond to more than 10 dog-bite cases a month, according to the local public security bureau.
(China Daily June 1, 2007)