About 90,000 people in Beijing have been attacked by dogs and
cats in the first six months of this year, up almost 34 percent for
the same period last year, the government said.
Dogs off the leash were blamed for most of the attacks. A small
number of people were also attacked by cats, mostly scratches that
led to swelling and fever, according to the Beijing management
office for pets.
Registration and vaccination are not mandatory for cats.
A spokesman said stray dogs and dogs being walked off the leash
by their owners remained a nuisance.
Many streets have repeatedly been cleared of stray dogs since
"Dog owners face fines for walking their pets off the leash, but
many ignore the rule because it's not possible to deploy law
enforcement personnel in every community. The number of pet dogs is
also growing," the spokesman said.
Beijing has about 660,000 registered dogs and the figure has
been growing by nearly 10,000 a month, the municipal public
security bureau said.
The city introduced a "one family, one dog" policy last year and
launched a nationwide campaign against unregistered dogs. Last
year, 3,070 people in China died of rabies.
Rabies has headed the list of fatal infectious diseases in China
for more than a year. In the first five months of this year, it has
claimed 1,043 lives across the country.
Beijing has so far reported two deaths from rabies - in February
and this month. The victims, a villager in the outlying Daxing
District and a chef in the eastern Chaoyang District, refused to be
treated after they were bitten by dogs, health authorities
Last year, 140,000 people in Beijing sought medical treatment
after being 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 in the world each year.
(China Daily July 24, 2007)