Concerns arise about new pet regulations in Shanghai

13:32, May 12, 2011      

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Shanghai's one-dog policy is expected to help reduce dog attacks and waste management problems in the city on Sunday, when a new set of pet regulations is due to take effect.

The new regulations state that Shanghai residents may only have one dog per household. Other rules include keeping dogs in public areas leashed at all times, and putting facemasks on large dogs to prevent them from biting others.

The new regulations also say that dog excrement must be removed in a timely fashion. If dog owners fail to comply with these rules, they can be fined anywhere from 20 yuan (3.03 U.S. dollars) to 200 yuan, depending on the infraction.

"I think that after the new regulations take effect, dog attacks and clashes between dog owners and other people over unremoved excrement on the streets will decrease," says Hong Kemin, a 60-year-old social worker from Shanghai.

Hong works for Huangpu District's Chengxing Community, which is home to dozens of pet owners.

"There are 2,000 households and 30 to 40 registered dogs in our community," she says. "Dogs leave excrement on the small sidewalks here every day, which has led to quarrels among the residents."

"The new regulations have detailed rules about dog waste and leashes, as well as penalties for violators. It will definitely benefit residents here," Hong says.

The new regulations also require all dogs in the city to receive vaccinations. Dog owners who have not vaccinated their pets will face a fine of 1,000 yuan if caught. By contrast, the required vaccinations cost only 40 to 60 yuan.

According to sources with the city's municipal legislature, there are 140,000 licensed dogs and another 600,000 unregistered ones in Shanghai, which is home to 23 million citizens. The city recorded more than 100,000 incidents of dog attacks each year since 2006.

Chen Na, a 24-year-old white-collar worker who lives in the city's Xuhui District, says she is scared of dogs because of a "terrible experience" she had in which she encountered 10 doges in a narrow alley, only one out of them leashed.

Chen is a member of a group named "making detours to avoid meeting dogs" on, a popular social networking website. Group members use the group to share their complaints about the city's dogs.

Dog owners have also weighed in on the new regulations, saying that they will pay attention to local law enforcement's attitude toward pets and their owners.

"It's easy to have my dog leashed and vaccinated and to clean up his excrement. What I care about more is whether respect will be paid to licensed dogs and their owners," says Zhou Jianxin, a 33-year-old white-collar worker from Shanghai's Putuo District.

Jiang Yongqi, a 56-year-old dog owner from Yangpu District, worries that the one-dog policy will affect his female pet's reproductive rights. "To give birth to more puppies is the 'right' of a dog," he says.

"I won't take it well if I have to give my pet's puppies to an adoption agency. Animal abuse happens more often these days," he adds.

The new law places fines of 500 to 2,000 yuan on owners who abuse or abandon their dogs.

Animal cruelty awareness has increased in China in recent years, a phenomenon best demonstrated by an incident that occurred in Beijing last month.

In late April, about 200 people blockaded a truck packed with hundreds of whimpering dogs on a Beijing highway, preventing the truck from moving for 15 hours. The people eventually negotiated for the release of the dogs, preventing them from being slaughtered and served as food.

According to Ding Wei, head of the legal work committee under the city's legislature, the one-dog policy has actually existed since 1993, when Shanghai created several previous pet-control measures. Similar policies have been adopted in other major Chinese cities.

Ding says that anyone currently owning two or more licensed dogs will be allowed to keep them.

"Any good pet-control law should cover the rights of both dog owners and households without pets. Owners of licensed dogs should have their rights safeguarded, and at the same time, they should fulfil their obligations," says Liu Yungeng, head of the Shanghai municipal legislature.

Source: Xinhua
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