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Stray dogs to be trained to help people (2)

By Cao Yin (China Daily)

08:31, February 07, 2012

However, she did not reveal how much it cost to train a hearing dog.

Wang Bin, director of the veterinary management department at the Beijing municipal bureau of agriculture, welcomed the project and thought it a good way to deal with the problem of stray dogs.

However, though the police had opened their shelter to the public and welcomed the adoption of stray and abandoned dogs, he said there were still dogs with good work skills left idle there.

This is the first time such a project has been tried in China and will be based on those in other countries.

A base for training guide dogs for the blind has been established in Dalian in Northeast China's Liaoning province.

However, Wang Liqun, founder of an animal rescue organization based in the capital, does not believe the new project will work in Beijing.

"Training a guide dog costs at least 200,000 yuan ($31,720) and needs professional trainers, but China is short of dog trainers at present," Wang said, adding that only certain types of dogs can be trained as hearing assistants.

Some stray dogs are old and diseased when they were sent to the shelter and are not suitable as working dogs, she said.

"The key to the management of stray dogs lies in enhancing care and affection towards these animals, not investing a lot of money on such an immature project."

But Gu Mengxi, a 23-year-old book editor in Chaoyang district, begs to differ. She lost her beloved pet poodle two years ago.

"I used to train Tuan Tuan to pick up balls and do some other tricks at home. He was clever and related well to people," she said, believing he would have made a good candidate for training as a hearing dog.

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