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"One Dog" Policy to Combat Rabies in Beijing
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China's capital is to implement a "one dog" policy for each household in its latest bid to fight rabies which claimed 318 lives nationwide in September.

The measure was announced in a circular from the city's Public Security Bureau, Agriculture Bureau, Administration for Industry and Commerce and the city's law enforcement authorities for urban administration.

It demarcates nine management zones: Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chongwen, Xuanwu, Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai, Shijingshan and Yizhuang Economic Development Zone.

Only one pet dog is allowed per household in the zones, and dangerous and large dogs will be banned. Anyone keeping an unlicensed dog will face prosecution.

In other Beijing districts, large and ferocious dogs must be restrained or locked up, and dog owners are prohibited from taking them into public places.

Owners are required to have their dogs inoculated regularly.

The abandonment of dogs has become an offence. Owners who wish to dispose of their pets should hand them over to local dog control authorities.

The circular forbids keepers to take their dogs to markets, stores, commercial areas, hotels, parks, public greens, schools, hospitals, exhibition halls, cinemas and theaters, gymnasiums, community gym zones, amusement parks, railway waiting rooms and sightseeing areas.

Pet dogs must be on a leash and led by an adult in public, the circular says.

The Ministry of Health website shows that 2,660 people in China died of rabies in 2004, compared with 159 reported fatalities in 1996.

In the first three quarters of this year, the country recorded 2,254 rabies cases, an increase of 29.69 percent over the same period last year.

(Xinhua News Agency November 8, 2006)

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