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Man's best friend must be friendly, and short
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09:29, September 11, 2009

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If you're a dog in Qinhuangdao, you'd better be small and love the sun.

Under new regulations, large dogs taller than 35 cm, and those on a list of breeds considered "dangerous" will be banned from the Hebei province city.

Violators will be shot.

The remaining small, peaceful dogs must be walked by adults in public areas like parks and streets from 6 am to 9 pm.

The campaign, meant to bite back at rabies, has unleashed the fury of many dog lovers.

"Dogs are human's friends and killing dogs equals killing our friends," a 27-year-old resident surnamed Gao told China Daily.

Gao is trying to sell his 2-year-old golden retriever because of the new regulation, but by yesterday he still hadn't decided who to sell it to.

A netizen called Zhang Jidi posted in a local forum that the government should strengthen the control of dogs, but not eliminate them.

The campaign will begin in People's Square and move outwards to the communities, Wang Runlin, director of the dog-killing campaign, said yesterday.

Four dozen police will enforce the rules.

All unlicensed dogs will be killed and owners fined 200 yuan ($30) under the measures to keep residents safe.

Three people died from rabies this year in Qinhuangdao, the first time in 14 years rabies has killed someone in the city, Wang said.

Every day dozens of residents call to complain about problems with dogs, he added.

So far, more than 15,000 dogs have been licensed, but thousands of stray dogs and unregistered ones are still on the streets, potentially endangering residents, Wang said.

Dogs caught by officers will be killed if no one comes to claim them, he added.

Ge Rui, regional director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare Asia, said that although there is no animal protection law, citizens have private property rights, and that includes pets.

"We are glad to see the first animal protection law is on the way, but for thousands of dogs in Qinhuangdao, it is still too late," Ge said.

The country's first draft law on animal protection will be submitted this year to the State Council, which proposes a fine of up to 6,000 yuan and two-week detention for those found guilty of animal cruelty.

This is not the first case to see dogs killed in the country. In May, more than 40,000 dogs were killed in Hanzhong, Shaanxi province to curtail rabies.

Source:China Daily

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