City goverment to slap fines as high as 5k yuan if dog hurts people

By Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/16 19:58:40

Hangzhou to slap $720 fine if dogs hurt people

Dog owners in Kaili, Southwest China's Guizhou Province, bring their dogs to a pet dog fair in February. Photo: VCG

Government of Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province kicked off "the strictest rule on keeping dogs" on Thursday, which will impose fine on individual dog owners up to 5,000 yuan ($720) if their dog hurts people.

Recent incidents of dogs attacking people have sparked heated social discussions, so we decided to organize a campaign to regulate uncivilized behavior of raising dogs and to correct citizens' illegal habit of raising and walking dogs, an employee surnamed Cai, from the urban management department of Hangzhou's Xihu district, told the Global Times on Friday.

The campaign began after a woman was beaten by a dog owner for chasing his unleashed pet away from her frightened child on November 3.

Hangzhou published a regulation on raising dogs in 1996, which was amended three times in 1997, 2001 and 2005, respectively, said Cai, noting that the regulation provides the legal basis for their campaign.

Dog owners will be fined up to 5,000 yuan if their dog hurts others, and their dog will be killed or confiscated by authorities, said the regulation, noting that these institutes who keep dogs without a permit will be fined 10,000 yuan, and their dogs will also be confiscated.

The permit requires a dog owner's ID, address and vaccination certificate valid within a year, Cai said.

However, netizens resisted Hangzhou's decision on Sina Weibo, after photos and videos began appearing on the platform, showing urban management officers capturing and beating dogs.

Hashtag "tens of thousands of people petitioned to discuss seizing dogs in Hangzhou" attracted 32.7 million views as of press time. Many accused the officers of being cruel, and many questioned why Chinese rural dogs are the most frequent victims of such regulation.

"My dog is a Chinese rural dog, who I rescued from the street. I've been trying to get a permit to keep it, but the authorities refused to give me one just because it is 'illegal to keep it' in the city," a Hangzhou resident surnamed Wang told the Global Times on Friday.

"The Chinese rural dog and dogs such as the Tibetan Mastiff and Pit Bull Terrier are violent, and can easily hurt people," an anonymous employee from Hangzhou's city urban management department, told the Global Times.

Cai said the regulation and seizing of street dogs aims to protect residents and allow them to legally keep dogs.

An average of 300 people a day get permits in Xihu district in recent days, which is more than the applications in a year in the past, Cai said.

So if we have dog-related incidents, it is easy for us to trace the dog owner and keep stray dogs from hurting people, he added.

Following Hangzhou's suit, several local governments, including Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan Province, and Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, all issued strict regulations on raising dogs.

The conflict between dogs and humans has risen in recent years. Nationwide, there were 7,700 reported incidents of dogs hurting people in the first 10 months. Many netizens also said it is the dog owner who needs to be regulated and educated, not the dog.

China does not have a law on animal welfare. But protecting animals is included in some regulations, Guangming Daily reported in 2016, adding that strong law enforcement does not only express people's kindness toward and love for animals but also a choice people make.

Newspaper headline: ‘Strictest’ pet dog rules issued

Posted in: SOCIETY

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