Local policy would give neighbors say over dogs in east China's Shandong

11:41, March 22, 2011      

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Residents in Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province, may have to obtain permission from their neighbors before they can have their dogs licensed, according to a proposal being considered by the the city's public security bureau.

If the proposal is included in the city's dog-raising regulation that is being revised, citizens will get a pet license from the city's public security bureau only after winning approvals from their neighbors and a testimonial from a local neighborhood committee, China Daily reported Tuesday.

The proposed rule drew mixed reactions from the public.

"Dogs are an important issue in neighborhood relations," Shao Yufei, who keeps a poodle in the apartment he rents in Lixia district, was quoted as saying by Tuesday's China Daily.

"It's difficult for a person to win approvals from all of his neighbors, since people often have different attitudes toward dogs.

"And I'll maybe remember who refused to sign my application (if I'm turned down), which might lead to conflict between my neighbors and me," Shao said.

Residents also expressed confusion over the proper application of the word "neighbors".

"I don't understand whether it refers to the person living next door or those living in the whole building or even the whole community," said Shao, who lives on the top floor of a five-story building.

He added that residents living in high-rises will find it harder to obtain approvals.

Proponents of the proposal contend that it will subject pet owners to more uniform standards, although many worry that adopting the rule will, in reality, cause little to change for the better.

A Jinan resident named Zhang Ting said she is often annoyed by her discoveries of hair shed by the dog kept by her upstairs neighbor.

She said she fears that fleas carried by the dog will harm her 2-year-old daughter.

"But considering that we live near each other, I have no choice but to give my neighbor an approval," Zhang said. "Besides, if we don't agree, he can still secretly keep an unregistered dog."

Residents are also confused about what they should do if their neighbors refuse to let them keep a dog they have had for some time.

"Surely it doesn't mean that I have to abandon my dog," said a woman surnamed Wang, who lives in Lixia district.

Legal experts had similar concerns.

"No matter how the rules are modified, they should be modified in such a way that dog keepers can abide by them," said Yi Shenghua, a lawyer at Beijing Yingke Law Firm.

"If an 80-year-old man lives next door, it's not right to raise a big wolfhound," Yi said.

Many cities have amended their dog-raising regulations. For example, Guangzhou and Chengdu and other cities allow households in certain areas to have only one dog. And Shanghai will institute a one-dog policy in May.

Source: Xinhua
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