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Beijing Checking Dog Licenses, Vaccinations
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A weeklong campaign to clamp down on unlicensed dog breeding has begun in China's capital with the goal of preventing an outbreak of rabies that has plagued other cities in China this year.

Eighty-nine squads, from the city's public security bureau, animal husbandry, agricultural and health departments, are charged with implementing the campaign, said Wang Xiaobing, a police officer with the Beijing Public Security Bureau.

The campaign, which began Tuesday, is an attempt to protect the public against ferocious dogs and rein in dogs that are unlicensed, owners who walk with their dogs unleashed and illegal dog trading markets, Li said.

Dog owners who do not register or vaccinate their pets can be fined up to 5,000 yuan (US$625), according to city regulations.

Beijing now has 550,000 registered dogs, according to the bureau.

City officials say dogs in the first half of the year bit 70,000 people.

Rabies, often spread by dog bites, attacks the nervous system and is fatal in humans if not treated prior to the onset of symptoms.

Mouding County of southwest China's Yunnan Province reported the deaths of three people from rabies in July. They died within 10 days after being bitten despite medical treatment.

East China's Shandong Province had reported 46 cases of rabies by the end of July this year, more than double the rate for the same period last year.

The increasing rabies cases also prompted local authorities to take more rigid measures regarding pet ownership and pet vaccination.

(Xinhua News Agency September 20, 2006)

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