Beijing’s restrictions on big breeds of dogs tightened early this month, as the police announced that large and dangerous dogs are banned in 6 key regulated areas: Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai, and Shijingshan, the Beijing Daily reports. The reporter learned that during this crack-down, enforcers will focus on educating dog owners, and ask them to find a way to send their dogs away; whether to dog farms, shelters, or local police stations. If dog owners resist, their big pets will be confiscated, receiving a 5,000 yuan fine. In addition, police officers have started raids and patrols at dog-walking peak hours, like early morning and evening. New York Times adds:
“The police, often tipped off by cynophobic neighbors, have been carrying out nighttime raids on homes, and scores of dogs have been wrenched from the grip of their distraught owners, even those that had been legally registered with the authorities…
With the exception of high-end pedigrees, animal rights advocates say, many of the seized animals are likely to end up in the hands of dog meat traders.”
Pets do not deserve to be taken away and served as meat, no matter how profitable this industry is for the authorities. However, supporters of this crackdown have their reasons. Many dog owners do not tie their dogs on a leash when out walking, and neither do they collect their droppings. There have even been reported incidences where pedestrians have been attacked. The local police station at Shijingshan district says that 62 cases were filed regarding large dogs in the month of May alone, 20 of which involved dog bites. Health is a concern as well, according to NYT:
“Officials note that rabies last year killed 13 people in Beijing, more than double the number in 2011. Big dogs, the police contend, are incompatible with city living. ‘All resistance as well as violence against enforcement will be investigated and dealt with by the police,’ they said in a statement.”
Dogs that don’t make the cut include good-tempered breeds like labradors and golden retrievers, simply because they are taller than 35 cm. Dog lovers have suggested that the 35 cm rule should be changed, as many big dogs are not dangerous. But police say that large breeds arouse anxiety for the elderly, pregnant women, and children, and the “35 cm” is a standard was set after conducting quantitative surveys.
The “good” news is, online stores have started selling registered dog licenses for 300 yuan each. Dog owners living in the key crackdown areas in Beijing provide a store the name of the pet, breed, gender, fur color and some basic information, and within 3 to 5 business days can receive an allegedly authentic dog ownership certificate, stating the dog is from a non-key area, as a reporter from The Beijing News discovered. To avoid being confiscated, the reporter was instructed to tell officers that the dog was brought to the city area for a visit to the vet.
The certificate that the BJ News reporter received, valid for owning a large breed in a non-key area.
However, one still cannot help but wonder if the city could regulate dog owners rather than dogs. Perhaps instead of setting a “35 cm” height rule, officials can make it mandatory for owners to take their pets to veterinarian centers, learn how to property train their dogs, and clean up feces.
Image courtesy of Xinhua.