China Has Introduced A ‘One-Dog Policy’

NEW YORK | Friday, November 12th, 2010 3:14am EDT

You’ve heard of the China’s one-child policy, now get ready for the Shanghai’s one-dog policy.

In this photo, the 'Posh Dog' in Shanghai, China. Photo: Flaviafgradia/Flickr

Shanghai has just introduced a new ‘one dog policy’, mirroring the country’s one child policy, in an attempt to free up living space, according to China Daily.

The city’s legislation on dog management makes it explicit that each household can have only one dog, given Shanghai’s high population density of 20 million people and limited living space, the newspaper said.

The government said the regulation was needed due to rampant barking, unscooped waste, and the growing risk of wild dogs attacks (over 100,000 dog attacks each year), which affect the city’s environment and sanitation, the report said.

Under the policy, if the dog has puppies, dog owner should give them away to other eligible adopters or send them to government-approved adoption agencies by the time they are 3 months old, the draft regulation said. The alternative, it said, is for owners to perform sterilization surgery on their dogs.

China’s capital is not the only Chinese city to come up with the ‘one-dog policy.’ Earlier, cities including Guangzhou and Chengdu passed laws restricting one household to one dog only in designated control areas.

According to the draft, the threshold will be cut to about 300 yuan ($45), taking into account the cost of certification, planting an ID-chip in the dog for identification purposes and providing a rabies vaccine every year.

Currently, dog owners pay anywhere from 1,000 ($150) yuan to 2,000 ($300) yuan annually for their dogs’ licenses and vaccination, depending on where the dogs are raised. The closer dog owners live to the city’s center, the more they have to pay to keep a pet.

The current high licensing fee has been widely regarded as the primary reason why most people in Shanghai do not register their dogs.

Official figures showed there are about 800,000 pet dogs in the China’s capital – although only a quarter of that number are registered and licensed, the report said.

There are about 100,000 dog attack incidents each year, according to the municipal public security bureau. In 2009, nearly 140,000 cases of dog-inflicted wounds were reported. Each year there are people dying from rabies after being attacked by unlicensed dogs.

The growing risks of dog attacks as well as rampant barking and waste littering, which affects the city’s environment and sanitation, has sparked calls for stronger regulation by the government, the bureau added.

If passed, the new law would come into effect some time next year. Anyone found violating the rule would face fines up to 1,000 yuan ($150.)

Owners will also be told not to bury dead dogs themselves but to send them to government-approved treatment agencies.

However, the potential one-dog policy has caused quite a stir among local pet lovers who said the rule might not be feasible.

“If you can’t find any adopters and the shelters are full, where would the puppies go?” said an old lady surnamed Huang, who has been raising a dog for six years.

The report also quoted one Shanghai dog-lover as saying officials should focus on educating citizens on how to raise pets responsibly instead of developing draconian measures.

“I think the government should improve public knowledge about how to raise a dog and how to prevent them from attacking people and littering instead of forcing us to raise one dog only,” said resident surnamed Wang.

“Even if the law gets passed, I doubt whether the government will be able to discover any violations if owners keep their dogs secretly,” she added. [via China Daily]

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