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Guangzhou set to cut cost of dog ownership
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Dog owners in Guangzhou can look forward to paying less to keep their pets under a revised government ruling set to take effect soon, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported on Wednesday.

Under the new regulation, owners will have to pay 1,000 yuan (US$146) to register their animals, followed by annual management fees of 700 yuan for the first year and 300 yuan for each subsequent year, the newspaper said.

In the past, the fees were 10,000 yuan for registration and 6,000 yuan per year, it said.

Local dog owner Lu Disi said the ruling was good news.

"The lower fees will encourage more dog owners to register their pets."

Blind people with guide dogs are exempt from all fees, while owners who have their pets neutered will be exempt from the management fee for two years, the newspaper said.

Dog owners who fail to register their pets will face a fine of 2,000 yuan, it said.

"I think the new rules will help reduce the number of strays in Guangzhou, because people will be afraid of being fined," Liu said.

Peng Peng, a researcher at the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, said the new rule is a big improvement on its predecessor, which was introduced in 1997 but has failed to keep the dog population in check.

"The regulation should be much more effective than the old one and will help the city to better manage its dogs," he said.

The previously high registration and management fees were a deterrent to people registering their pets and that led to an ever-growing number of strays, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 1, 2008)

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