More stray dogs are expected to be on the streets in downtown Zhengzhou, Henan Province, when a new regulation on pets takes effect on October 1.
It forbids the keeping of large dogs and only one dog per household will be allowed.
"Fewer than one out of 100 dogs are licensed in Zhengzhou," Ye Hong, head of the Pet Protection Society of Zhengzhou, told China Daily.
"The old regulation required 3,000 yuan ($400) for a dog license, and an annual payment of 500 yuan. It was too expensive, even higher than that of Beijing," she said.
Police take away unlicensed dogs and send them to the zoo. If no one claims them within a week, rumor has it "they are fed to the lions and tigers".
"This may not be true, but the police have never made public how they deal with the dogs," Ye said.
She has rescued about 300 strays in the past four years. "Lately I have been receiving more phone calls asking me to accept more stray dogs, but few requests to adopt some of my dogs."
Ye has more than 20 dogs. A staff member with the Zhengzhou municipality surnamed Li told her that such animal shelters can only be built in the suburbs.
"I won't be able to take care of them if the dogs are moved to the suburbs," Ye said. The Pet Protection Society from time to time receives donations from the public to help carry out its work.
Ye, a vet, treats sick dogs for free if the owner is unable to pay.
Most of the society's income is used toward the rescue of strays, Ye said. "The food doesn't cost much, but when dogs are sick, the expense is high."
In a bid to cut costs, she uses traditional Chinese medicine to treat skin diseases of dogs. "The results have been remarkable," she said.
Zhengzhou-based Business News quoted a staff member of the city's legislation department, Wang Zhihong, as saying the department plans to train policemen to catch dogs.
If police receive complaints about stray dogs, they will be caught and placed in a warehouse or underground parking lot for two weeks. If they are not claimed, the dogs will be sent to the zoo, Wang said.
Zhengzhou public amenities administration official, Zhang Xin'an, said he had no information about stray dogs being sent to the zoo.
"The zoo is not a dog-keeping facility, it can't be turned into a kennel," he said.
Source: China Daily