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Beijing set to rein dangerous dogs

Updated: 2013-06-14 07:19
By Cao Yin ( China Daily)

Yuan Zhi worries about her two pets, which is why she decided to stop walking them after hearing that Beijing police launched a citywide crackdown on large and dangerous dogs on Wednesday.

A rule published by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau on June 2 said dogs 35 cm in height or taller, or that are one of 41 breeds identified as violent such as bulldogs and collies, will be banned in designated areas, including central districts and some rural regions across the capital.

District governments and local police have the right to decide where dogs can and cannot be raised, and the city rule is not as simple as saying that huge and dangerous dogs are banned within the Fifth Ring Road.

Yuan's two dogs, a husky and a golden retriever, are much taller than average dogs, while the 28-year-old's residence, Daxing district, is an area that police said they will pay more attention to.

"I registered my dogs, and similar crackdowns before were not strict, so I wasn't too worried. But it seems tougher this time," she said. "I'm afraid the police will take them away, so I won't walk them in the near future."

Zi Xiangdong, a police officer in the bureau, confirmed they had already begun enforcing the rule, declining to elaborate.

But he added that crackdowns are routine and occur regularly.

The bureau suggested that owners who have dogs affected by the rule take their pets to areas that allow them to be raised there, or ask qualified places like animal shelters to accept them as soon as possible. Otherwise, the bureau will send illegal or abandoned dogs to a shelter in Changping district.

Dog owners who disobey the rule will be fined 5,000 yuan ($815), and organizations with illegal dogs will face a 10,000-yuan fine, the bureau added.

Wang Liqun, founder of an animal rescue organization in Beijing, has been keeping an eye on the rule, saying such a harsh crackdown will not solve the root cause of the problem.

The official shelter cannot provide a good environment for illegal and abandoned dogs, and the regulation on banned breeds is out of date, she said.

"Many large dogs, such as Labradors and golden retrievers, are friendly to people. We can't restrict the shape and size of dogs that residents raise," she said. Wang suggested the government take effective measures against dog owners instead of seizing their pets.

Large dogs can be required to be muzzled in public and their owners must be trained before raising them, while communities with a lower population density can have looser rules, she added.

Wang Bin, director of veterinary management at the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Agriculture, said the capital has been looking at dog regulations from foreign countries, but added that officials are a long way from updating the list of banned dog breeds and establishing more specific rules to regulate dog owners.

"If a dog grows up to be a large one that disobeys the rules, I won't know how to tackle such a situation either," he said.

In 2012, the number of registered dogs across the capital reached 1 million, but the biggest challenge for the government is to manage the ones with a canine ID certificate, he added.

"Some big or fierce dogs are never trained, and they may harm children or the elderly," pet owner Qiu Shanshan said. "I don't think Beijing is a city suitable to raising large dogs. Our living space is crowded enough."


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