County sparks debate over ban on dog-walking

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/16 16:56:03

Residents in East China's Shanghai Municipality play with dogs raised at a local cafe. The cafe keeps eight Afghan Hound and 12 large dogs. Photo: VCG

A county in Southwest China's Yunnan Province sparked widespread public debate after it banned dog-walking in urban areas in a notice issued on Friday, which regulates that dogs will be put down if found on the street for a third time.

Weixin county officials have begun looking into the regulation after many people questioned the new rule online.

The notice stipulates that residents must have their dogs leashed or kept in captivity.

According to the notice, anyone found walking a dog will receive a warning for the first offense. For a second offense, the administrative department will impose a fine of between 50 yuan and 200 yuan. If a person is found to be walking a dog for a third time, the local government will contact the public security department to have it put down.

The notice has led to widespread controversy online.

"To prevent cars from hitting people, should we prohibit driving on the highway and lock our cars in the garage? The local government should spend more time on establishing animal protection laws and regulations and strengthening civilized pet laws and regulations," one netizen commented on Sina Weibo, receiving 589 likes.

"Please vigorously punish the people who break the law rather than killing small animals who are innocent," another netizen called.

A senior official from Weixin county told a reporter that the government attaches great importance to public opinions on the regulations for dogs, and was calling for multiple departments to discuss the matter. "City management needs a standard, but everything should be regulated according to the law," said the official.

Some people questioned if the policy is legal and in accordance with the rule of law.

"The national law stipulates that a dog is a citizen's private property, and local regulations cannot overstep the national law to directly destroy a citizen's property," one netizen argued on Weibo.

With the improvement in living standards, more and more families in China are keeping pets. However, incidents of pet dog injuries have occurred frequently in recent years.

An elderly man and a child were seriously injured by two dogs in Dalong Square in Leiyang, Hunan Province, in 2017. In September, an 8-year-old girl was mauled by a big dog in Nanchang, Jiangxi province.

Nearly half (49.2 percent) of dog-owning households have been involved in incidents in which their dogs harassed or attacked other people, and 38.6 percent of respondents have experienced an intrusion or attack by a dog, according to the Minxing District Civilized Dog Network Questionnaire Survey Report released by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2019. 

In Weixin county, there have also been incidents of injuries from dogs, and the public security department is said to be concerned about this issue. "We respect dog owners and dog lovers, but they should not hurt others. We have had cases of children being bitten by dogs here, and it is an issue that needs to be regulated by all parties," the officer told a reporter.

Posted in: SOCIETY

blog comments powered by Disqus