Dog lovers call for new law in China
Fri, Oct 16, 2009
China Daily/Asia News Network

SHANGHAI, China - Raising a dog in Shanghai should be easier, cheaper and better regulated.

At a recent meeting about a new law regarding dog ownership, local citizens and pet experts complained about the hassle and cost of dog ownership, asking for changes in the law, said Zhang Yi, director of Shanghai Pet Union.

"We suggest that the procedure of applying for a dog license be easier, the cost of a license be cheaper and the law enforcement, in case of detecting dogs without a license or stray dogs, be humane," he said.

Raising a dog in Shanghai costs from 500 yuan ($73) to 2,000 yuan per year for a license, depending on where the owners live. And applying for a license needs approval of neighbours and a neighbourhood committee. Dogs without a license will be taken away if found.

"Raising a dog is more of a personal decision like raising a baby. Neighbours and a neighbourhood committee have no right to decide," Zhang said.

"But we need to establish in law to ensure they raise the dog in a way that does not disturb others," he said.

In August a legislator had suggested a ban on walking dog in public areas, blaming dogs for damaging lawns, leaving waste everywhere and disturbing the peace.

"Pet dogs bring most people troubles or even harm, and only a few people fun," Deng Zixin was quoted as saying by Shanghai Oriental Morning Post.

Liu Qi, a Shanghai woman who has a 13-year-old papillon, said she loves dogs.

"People spit and bring others disease too," she said, adding that she hopes the new law will designate certain areas to walk dogs.

"And as a dog lover, I would hope the law could stipulate the behaviors of dog owners. People hate dogs because some dog owners don't take good care of their dogs, or clean their dogs' waste," she said.

Zhang Weimin, 55, who has a 1-year-old pomeranian, said his dog has no license, which costs too much.

"I would like to get him a license if it is 1,000 yuan," he said.

Living downtown, Zhang would have to pay 2,000 yuan per year for a license.

The new law should define what is a public area, Zhang Yi said.

"Schools, hospitals and restaurants are definitely public places where dogs should not be taken to," he said. "But they should be allowed to go out in some areas."

Neighbourhood committees should send people to patrol and watch the dogs, in case of any violation of the rules, he said.

And to make the enforcement more humane, dogs without licenses or stray dogs should be taken to a kennel and raised there.

"Then they can be put up for adoption," he said.

Most representatives at the discussions support responsible dog raising, Zhang Yi said.

"I believe that the laws are meant to regulate the behaviours of dog owners instead of dogs," he said.

A Shanghai Municipal People's Congress spokesman confirmed such a law is being drafted by the local public security bureau, but no details have been released.


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