On June 20th, a Shenzhen citizen reported in an open letter to the city about the death of stray dogs due to poor management at a local dog shelter. The message showed dogs in abominable conditions. The majority of the dogs were sick or starving, and emaciated bodies of dead dogs laid around the facility.
That afternoon, the Shenzhen Urban Management and Law Enforcement Bureau made a spot check and demanded the dog shelter to rectify the existing problems immediately. Later, the Bureau held a press conference to report the situation and announced that they are building a new shelter facility up to international standards.
This year, Shenzhen focuses on improving dog management. The new “Trap, Neuter, Adopt” (TNA) Project aims to resolve the stray dog problem in the city. The Urban Management and Law Enforcement Bureau will standardize the management of stray dogs as well as encourage adoptions. For example, the Bureau requires all dogs to receive injections of microchips, which prevents losing pets and holds owners accountable for the dogs’ behavior.
In recent years, due to an increasing number of dog attacks in urban public spaces, Chinese municipal governments have initiated rigorous control of pets and stray dogs.
Last November, the Chengdu Police Department began to seize and dispose of 22 breeds of banned dogs in the city’s dog-restricted area.
Hangzhou government also carried out a governance action plan of pet dog control, prohibiting dog-walking from 7 A.M. to 7 P.M. and imposing fines for unleashed walks and unregistered pet dogs.
In fact, to regulate pet dog ownership and prevent dog attacks, Chinese cities have implemented dog restrictions for many years.
As early as the 1990s, cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, and Wuhan were the first to introduce dog management measures. After merely a decade, dog management measures have been widely adopted in China. The regulations often put specific restrictions on the time and location of dog walks, the number of dogs owned, as well as the height and breed of the pet dogs. Many dog lovers have voiced their concerns that these regulations are unreasonable and cause unnecessary suffering for certain kinds of dogs. Under such circumstances, whether it is necessary to formulate a unified law across China to regulate pet ownership has become a popular topic for the public.
During the 2018 National People’s Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Qian Yefang, standing director of the Chinese Society of Social Law and a professor at the law school of Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics, drew up the “Companion Animal Protection Act”, hoping to promote relevant legislation. Liu Chen, a scholar at the School of Public Administration and Media, Guilin University of Technology, also expressed recently the necessity of legislation concerning pet ownership in the public area to guide pet owners under the law.
Translated by Vince Wu
Edited by Andrea Jia and Riley Peng @ Animal Dialogue