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Tue Sep 27 14:09:47 SAST 2016

Shanghai's one-dog policy

Sapa-AFP | 16 May, 2011 10:070 Comments
A dog walks in a commercial area in downtown Shanghai May 11, 2011. Under the city's "One Dog Policy" to be implemented next week, residents may only have one dog per household, must keep dogs in public areas leashed at all times and put muzzles on large dogs to prevent them from biting others. Picture taken May 11, 2011.
Image by: ALY SONG

Shanghai dog owners rushed to license their pets over the weekend as the city imposed a new one-dog policy in response to the growing popularity of man’s best friend, state media said Monday.

Hundreds of citizens microchipped and vaccinated their pets as a new law took effect Sunday limiting households to a single canine in an effort to curb rampant barking, unscooped waste and the growing risk of dog attacks.

To encourage more pet owners to license their dogs, the government of the commercial metropolis slashed the cost of the permits in the city centre to 500 yuan ($77) from the previous 2,000 yuan, the Shanghai Daily said.

Residents who owned two or more licensed dogs before Sunday will be allowed to keep them but must maintain each dog’s permit, state media reported.

Dog ownership has grown alongside China’s fast-expanding middle class with official estimates putting Shanghai’s pet dog population at 800,000. Previous reports have said only a quarter of that number are registered.

The city’s human population was more than 19 million in 2009, according to the government.

Many dog owners postponed obtaining new licences until the cheaper rate took effect, causing a spike in traffic at animal vaccination centres, the Shanghai Daily said.

Animal rescue shelters have also been expanded in the expectation that many owners will abandon their dogs to avoid paying the licence fees, the report said.

The government had previously said tighter regulation was needed to prevent adverse effects on the city’s environment from noise, waste, and dog attacks.

There were about 58 million pet dogs in 20 major Chinese cities at the end of 2009 and the figure is rising about 30% each year, according to a recent survey by Beijing-based magazine Dog Fans.

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