Dog cull ordered to check rabies' spread
Leu Siew Ying in Guangzhou
Maoming government officials will send out squads to put down thousands of dogs on September 1 in an attempt to control what is described as the city's most serious rabies outbreak in over a decade, according to an information office director.
The announcement of the cull was carried by the Maoming Evening News earlier this week but did not specify exactly what measures owners were supposed to take to avoid having their dogs killed.
The director of Maoming's information office, who identified himself only as Deng, confirmed that the government had published a notice in the newspaper in response to the high number of rabies cases in the January-to-August period.
'We had 43 cases with a 100 per cent mortality rate. This is the most serious outbreak since 1990,' he said.
'We issued the regulations banning dog keeping in town areas to safeguard the health of city residents.'
Within urban areas, dogs can only be kept for educational and scientific purposes and have to be licensed and vaccinated.
'Before August 31, dog owners must take the initiative to comply with the regulations, or we will do it for them,' he said.
Li Xiaoan, a teacher in Maoming, said people had begun abandoning their pets following reports that government dog catchers would be dispatched
'In my neighbourhood alone, you can see more than 10 stray dogs on the streets at night,' she said.
In July, the Guangdong health department ordered the destruction of 60,000 dogs in rabies affected areas after reporting that there were 74 cases of the disease in the first six months of the year.