Chinese Dog Lovers Howling Over Dog Purge
More news about our fellow dog lovers in China. This article was in The Mercury News.
Please be warned that some of this article is very upsetting!
China's middle class howling in protest over crackdown on dogs
By Tim Johnson
Blog | Tim Johnson in China
BEIJING - It might seem surprising that enforcement of a policy toward dogs would provoke a wave of public anger in China.
But a crackdown on dog ownership has led to a rare street protest, angry online postings and a sense of fear and disgruntlement among throngs of dog owners. The backlash has caught authorities flat-footed as they try to explain their reasons for the restrictions.
The rules, which limit households in the city and its suburbs to one dog and ban large dogs and certain breeds, have been around since 1995 but were widely ignored.
Many middle-class urban Beijing residents want a greater say in how they live their lives. Many also are angry about heavy-handed police tactics in confiscating unregistered dogs.
"All dog owners are worried. They feel threatened. They don't know when their dogs will be taken away," said Zi Jin, a veterinarian and member of a private group that takes in strays.
City officials said on Nov. 7 that they would enforce the rules, including a ban on any dog bigger than 35 centimeters (nearly 14 inches) at the shoulder. Only people who are blind or handicapped may register bigger dogs.
Police this month began snap inspections of people walking their dogs, demanding to see their credit card-sized annual registrations, which include the dogs' photos. Those caught without registration cards face fines of up to 5,000 yuan ($636) and seizure of their pets.
Teams also began to round up stray dogs, sometimes beating them to death with sticks in public thoroughfares - something that's not new in China but is now in the spotlight with the reinvigorated campaign to limit dog ownership.
Dog-beating campaigns to reduce a spike in rabies have left tens of thousands of dogs dead in parts of Shandong, Yunnan and Zhejiang provinces since mid-summer.
Sun Hongwei, a sushi restaurant owner and animal activist in Beijing, said she took part in efforts to monitor government dog pounds and was shocked by what she saw.