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China Imposes 1-Dog Limit, Bans 'Attack Dogs'

The Shanghai government says tighter regulations are needed due to rampant barking, unscooped waste, and the growing risk of dog attacks which affect the city's environment and sanitation.

On February 23, Shanghai was the latest major Chinese city to impose a one-dog-per-household limit in an attempt to curtail pet overpopulation and attacks on humans. This new policy will affect those living in downtown/urban centers and will become effective May 15, 2011, according to People’s Daily. Anyone with two or more currently licensed dogs may keep them.

Dogs taller than 36 inches will be banned from the center of the city, and raising or keeping so-called "attack dogs", including bulldogs, will be banned completely, according to Independent World.

New dog license applications have been suspended until May 15, when the revamped licensing system goes into effect with some strict new enforcement rules.

Although police will not make special checks to determine if someone owns more dogs than allowed, all licensed dogs will be microchipped and officers will be equipped with readers, according to People’s Daily.   

Officers will visit homes to help residents with the process and assure compliance with the new rules, which include the following:

  • ALL dogs must be vaccinated against rabies, licensed and undergo an annual check.
  • Any unlicensed pets and any puppies must be given away to eligible no-dog households, friends, relatives, or to government-approved adoption agencies before the pups are three months of age.
  • Owners who do not comply with all regulations will face fines from 200 yuan (US $22) and 1,000 yuan (US $150) and their dog will be taken away.
  • Keeping or raising large attack dogs is banned.
  • If a dog attacks a human twice or injures two or more people in one attack, its license will be revoked and the dog will be removed by police.
  • Failing to clean up after your dog can result in a fine up to 200 yuan (US $22) by urban management workers.
  • Licenses for spayed/neuetred dogs will be 50% of the regular license.

On-line information will be available and, “… people will be able to check a website if they want to adopt a dog that has been removed from its previous home.” according to People’s Daily.   

The exact cost of a license has not yet been announced, but officials indicate it should be no more than 1,000 yuan ($150). Currently dog licenses cost 2,000 yuan.

An on-line search for available spay/neuter services in Shanghai disclosed only one website which provides information and referrals (Second Chance Animal Aid Shanghai.)

Shanghai now licenses about 140,000 dogs, but estimates there are at least an additional 600,000 unlicensed. Last year, police handled nearly 140,000 reports of people being bitten by unlicensed dogs, an alarming increase from 100,000 in 2006. There were also a significant number of fatal rabies infections in humans because of low compliance with rabies vaccination laws.

It is estimated that there were about 58 million pet dogs living in 20 major Chinese cities at the end of 2009 and increasing by about a 30 per cent each year, according to a survey in Beijing-based Dog Fans magazine. Shanghai is the most populous city in China, with about 20 million humans living in an area of 7,070.3 square miles.


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