What's on the horizon for city dogs?

By Lisa Carducci
0 CommentsPrint E-mail China.org.cn, March 10, 2011
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Shanghai is a city of 20 million people and 1 million dogs. But in 2009, according to AFP, only 164,000 owners had bought dog licenses. Now the city is set to bring in regulations imposing a one-dog policy on households.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 55,000 people die of rabies worldwide every year and China ranks second to India in numbers of deaths. And Shanghai recorded 140,000 dog attacks in 2009.

Rabies can be prevented by a simple vaccination. But according to a 2009 report, less than 70 percent of dogs are vaccinated in most Chinese cities. The proposed Shanghai regulation suggests a fine of 1,000 yuan for failing to register a pet dog. That seems too low to convince owners to obey the law.

Deng Zixin, a deputy to the Shanghai city people's congress, told Xinhua last year that the dog ownership problem "was getting out of hand". Dogs are a major nuisance, he said, barking, biting people and fouling the streets. That is why Shanghai is set to follow Chengdu and Guangzhou in restricting households to one dog each.

To encourage people to register their pets, vaccination and registration fees will be simultaneously cut from 2,000 yuan to 300 yuan.

Chinese families can only have one child. Is this a reason they raise so many pets? In the compound where I live, 60 percent of the households have a dog. In my building, out of eight apartments, one has four dogs and one has five dogs. The rest all have one dog. Mine is the only one without a dog.

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