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Beijing to Remove Stray Dogs from Streets
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Beijing's local authorities have begun a two-month campaign to remove stray dogs from the capital's streets as precautions are stepped up against the threat of rabies.

All dogs found running wild in the streets without city-issued licenses will be caught and handed to public security offices for inoculation, according to a municipal meeting on dog management.

"The campaign aims to protect the public against ferocious stray dogs and rein in unlicensed dogs. Catching and inoculating all the stray dogs is a major way to curb the spread of rabies," said Ji Lin, vice mayor of Beijing.

But he admitted he was "not optimistic" about preventing rabies and biting cases due to the large number of stray dogs. Despite this reservation, he has still promised to capture every stray dog in two months.

This year, the local police has found 8,961 unlicensed dogs, of which 831 have been stray. The office for dog raising in Beijing said over 550,000 dogs were registered in the city, a 20 percent increase on last year. But statistics from the Beijing Association of Small Animal Protection show that there are over one million registered and unregistered dogs in Beijing.

More than 110,000 people in China were given rabies vaccines after being bitten by pets in the first eight months of the year and nine have died of rabies.

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

Dog owners who do not register or vaccinate their pets can be fined up to 5,000 yuan (US$625), according to city regulations. The city police has detained 16 dog owners violating the regulation.

China recorded 2,254 rabies cases in the first nine months of the year, a 30 percent rise over the same period last year.

(Xinhua News Agency October 26, 2006)

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