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Beijing's big dog ban raises debate on ownership

By Zhao Ying, Xu Leyi (Xinhua)

17:54, July 26, 2013

BEIJING, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Beijing has stepped up enforcement on banning large and vicious dogs, which has sparked heated debate about the height and breed of the animals and owners' responsibility of regulating canine behavior.

Beijing issued the Regulations on Dog Ownership in 2003. Since June, local authorities have stepped up enforcement measures by banning dog breeds taller than 35 cm in eight key administrative districts and densely populated rural areas. Each household in the areas is allowed to keep one dog.

The initiative was implemented following a spate of dog attacks and a number of rabies-related deaths.

Li Xiangjie was forced to move out of the urban area and walk her Samoyed either at 5 a.m. or after 10 p.m. to avoid police raids. Li and many other panic-stricken dog owners were worried that their pets would be confiscated.

"Some dogs under 35 cm are likely to be aggressive while some large breeds such as Samoyed and Husky are very docile," said Li.

Animal experts pointed out that the size of dogs should not be directly related to their level of ferocity. Some animal welfare organizations have called for an amendment to the ban and a more scientific and humane solution to regulating dog ownership.

"The viciousness of a dog should be judged according to breeds instead of heights. Using the height as a decisive factor is not reasonable," said Shen Ruihong, secretary-general of China Beijing Kennel Club.

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