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Shanghai to ban walking dogs in public places
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Shanghai legislators are considering a law to ban pet dogs from walking in public places amid increasing tension between dog owners and their neighbors in this populous city.

"Pet dogs have brought most people trouble or even harm, and only few people fun," legislator Deng Zixin told the Shanghai Oriental Morning Post.

"In many communities, dogs tread on lawns, ram into people in the elevators and their hair and waste are seen everywhere," he said.

Zheng Huiqiang, deputy director of Shanghai Municipal People's Congress, said the existing rules regulating dog and pet activity are vague and out of date.

"New regulations must state clearly the rights and obligations of the dog owners, as well as punishment to those who violate the rules," he told the newspaper.

Large dogs or those that tend to attack should be banned from certain downtown regions.

Others should be prohibited from entering the subway, shopping malls, supermarkets, elevators and other public places, according to Zheng.

With an increasing number of families having pet dogs, disputes between them and their neighbors in major Chinese cities are growing.

In 2008, several dogs in a downtown neighborhood died from eating poisons found on the lawns where the dogs walk.

Xu, a Shanghai woman who would only give her last name, said she hates dogs.

"Several times I have stepped on dog waste when I walk on lawns in our community," she said.

"And I believe dogs are unsanitary and bring people disease."

But Liu Qi, a Shanghai woman in her 30s, said that people can be just as unsanitary as dogs, in that they spit in public and can be carriers of disease too.

"I love dogs," she said.

Governments are trying to solve the problems.

In Zhoupu town of Shanghai's Nanhui district, local government officials have designated a certain spot to walk dogs after disputes occurred between pet owners and their neighbors.

In Beijing, pet toilets have been built in a neighborhood in Chaoyang district. The pet toilets are one square meter of dirt for solid waste, with a pole where dogs can relieve themselves.

In Hanzhong, Shaanxi province, the government has slaughtered more than 40,000 dogs since May after rabies broke out.

Some 7,000 people have been injured by dogs and 15 died from rabies.

In the cities, dog owners are charged from 500 yuan to 2,000 yuan every year to register their pets.

In Guangzhou, the local government has lowered the fee for a dog permit, which includes an identification system and vaccinations, to 500 yuan per dog. However, only one dog is allowed per family.

In Shanghai, more than 143,000 dog permits have been issued by 2008.

Liu Qi, who pays 1,000 yuan each year to register her dog, said many people do not buy dog permits because they are too expensive.

"And they don't vaccinate their dogs, and are always afraid of being found out."

Zheng Huiqiang, however, said the fee for registering a dog should not be lowered.

"When the life standard of the family owning the pet is not high enough, raising pets will be a burden for both the owners and others," he said.

The congress is collecting suggestions for the law, Zheng said.

(China Daily August 7, 2009)

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