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Beijing: The Number of Dogs Rising
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More than 100,000 dogs have been registered so far this year in Beijing, bringing the total number to 703,879 from the end of last year and giving rise to a "string of social problems", local authorities said on Tuesday.

A spokesman with the Beijing municipal administrative office for dog raising complained that dogs are "rivaling" human beings for space of movement. Public complaints are on the increase about dogs urinating in the streets and loud barking. The number of abandoned and stray dogs is growing.

Meanwhile, attacks on human beings by dogs are also rising, which will sometimes spread diseases, the spokesman said.

Data from the Beijing Municipal Health Bureau show that about 83,000 people have been injured by dogs from bites or scratches so far this year, up 33.7 percent from a year earlier. Pet dogs allowed to roam off the leash were at most to blame for the attacks, the bureau said.

Beijing reported two rabies deaths in February and July. The two victims, a villager in the outlying Daxing District and a chef in the eastern Chaoyang District, refused to be vaccinated after they were bitten by stray dogs.

Last year, 140,000 Beijingers sought medical attention after they were attacked by dogs or cats.

Rabies is an acute viral infection that is nearly always fatal if left untreated. It can be transmitted by the bite of an infected animal, usually a dog. It kills about 50,000 people across the world each year.

Beijing introduced a "one family, one dog" policy last year and joined a nationwide campaign against unregistered dogs last year, when 3,070 people in China died of rabies.

Rabies has stayed at the top of the list of fatal infectious diseases in China for more than a year and claimed 1,043 lives across the country in the first five months of this year.

The Beijing Municipal Health Bureau has set up 94 clinics to administer rabies vaccinations in the city.

(Xinhua News Agency August 8, 2007)

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