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Attacks show dilemma posed by savage dogs in China's cities

By Wang Fei (Global Times)

10:41, July 03, 2013

Bai Gang lives in a small community in Jinjiang township, Sichuan Province. Each night he walks home accompanied by colleagues from his workplace at a railway station, though sometimes it can be a harrowing walk - large dogs, often resembling wolves, shadow them in the darkness.

"I'm quite frightened that some of the dogs might run over toward us. One of them once came up and tried to lick my leg, but it ran away when I shone my flashlight on it."

Bai may have genuine reasons to be afraid. Last Thursday, a girl died in Dalian, Liaoning Province, after being attacked by a Tibetan Mastiff near a construction site. Three workers tried to drive the dog away with stones, spades and an iron bar, but all failed. The pet owner was detained by the police on charges of negligent homicide and may face three to seven years in prison if found guilty.

This case is far from unique. A Tibetan Mastiff was shot dead after biting a woman in Sichuan Province last Friday, and in a separate incident, three passers-by were bitten by two Tibetan Mastiffs in Beijing on June 24.

According to a CCTV report, there were 60,000 cases of dogs attacking people in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, in 2012, meaning that on average more than 160 dogs injured people every day. The report also said that between 2009 and 2011 in the Panyu district of Guangzhou, over 30 cases of dogs biting people were reported daily on average, with direct economic losses caused by medical charges coming to 10 million yuan ($1.63 million).

The increasing numbers of dog attacks have put man's best friend in the spotlight across China, as lawmakers struggle to deal with the problem without angering pet owners - a goal that comes at a price.

A government crackdown in late June, which attempted to remove illegal breeds of large dogs from the capital, made international headlines as residents cried out while their beloved pets were seized.

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