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Dog Policy 'Does Not Infringe Rights of Owners'
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A senior Chinese police officer said yesterday that China respects its people's rights to keep dogs despite regulations aimed at limiting numbers of large and aggressive dogs in cities.

Bao Suixian, deputy director of the Public Security Management Bureau under the Ministry of Public Security, also called for a balance between the interests of dog-owners and others.

"People have the right to have dogs, but people who don't have dogs also have rights," he told a press conference yesterday.

"People are worried about two things: Dogs attacking and injuring them," he said.

Bao also denied that some dog shelters killed dogs that have been collected from the streets or previous owners.

"We have set up special homes to house stray dogs and unlawfully large and aggressive dogs, fearing they might threaten public security," Bao said. "But we have never heard of them being slaughtered."

"Dogs are man's best friend. We still treat them like friends after taking them in."

The official said the government does not condone the slaughter of dogs, unless they have rabies.

On Monday Beijing Public Security Bureau refuted some dog-owners' online statements that criticized the strict implementation of a new "one-dog" policy, calling the comments misleading.

In articles published on the Internet, dog owners claimed security officers forced them to give up their dogs. They said it was offensive to have their dogs abruptly seized, and claimed that the dogs were being taken away to be slaughtered.

But the bureau says this is untrue. They explained that the security officers were simply implementing the new regulation, by urging citizens to give up second dogs or aggressive dogs.

The bureau added that the strict implementation of the dog-control measures mainly aims to solve nine prominent problems, including the keeping of large or vicious dogs, unlicensed dogs, one household owning more than one dog, and owners bringing their dogs to public places.

They revealed that the bureau's special office managing the registration of dogs has taken in a total of 500 stray and family dogs that were temporarily detained after November 13. Any dog owners who no longer want to keep their pets may drop them off at their local police station. Meanwhile, citizens eligible to own a dog are invited to adopt previously owned dogs, and can call the station for details.

(China Daily November 15, 2006)

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