Howls of protest force city to ditch ban on dogs
A ban on pet dogs in Guangdong's Jiangmen city has been revoked just nine days after it was announced.
Under the policy, dogs spotted in urban areas from August 26 were to be confiscated and culled or rehomed in the countryside.
Intense public opposition forced officials to back track, state news agency Xinhua reported. However, officials insisted that the ban on dogs from parks, streets and other public areas would go ahead. Anyone found with a dog in prohibited areas would be advised to leave instead of having their pets confiscated.
In the original sweeping ban, the only dogs allowed in the city would be guard dogs. Permits would be granted to factories with goods in storage valued at more than 5 million yuan (HK$6 million) or warehouses storing oil and dangerous goods.
The move was met with howls of protest from dog lovers nationwide, who launched online petitions that called the policy inhumane and ridiculous.
Xinhua said the Jiangmen government held a cross-departmental meeting on Wednesday morning at which it was decided that the government would revise the ban.
The new order also stipulates that dog owners must pay for all medical expenses, rehabilitation and other compensation for anyone bitten by their dogs.
The legality of the Jiangmen dog ban is also questionable. In 2006, the Ministry of Public Security in Beijing said it had been a long-standing national policy not to ban dogs but to manage them, as keeping pets like dogs, cats and birds was a legitimate civil right.
Commenting on the ban, Wu Hao, a Beijing-based professional dog breeder and pet magazine editor called the regulation 'unreasonable and ridiculous'.
'Dogs and cats are part of humans' everyday life. They are important companions and even family members in many homes. This regulation reflects a backward development. Banning and culling dogs is not acceptable universally,' Wu said.
'Any government that disregards the love humans have for dogs is not worth supporting,' he added.
Even with the ban being put on hold, Wu feared the local government might come up with further low-profile ways to make things more difficult for dog owners.
In Beijing, after 200 people blockaded a truck carrying 500 dogs destined for the dinner plate, the capital's dog owners were faced with more stringent dog licence checks, Wu said.
Qiu Qiu, a dog owner in Guangzhou, felt compelled to speak out because he feared the ban might be introduced in Guangzhou in future.
'I was very shocked to learn about Jiangmen's dog ban,' he said. 'The local government abused its power and overrode a national law in violation of civil rights.'
A 16-year-old Jiangmen girl posted an open letter to the city's authorities online, saying it was inhumane to cull dogs in the name of promoting civilisation.
'The government will only diminish its credibility by culling dogs,' she wrote. 'Jiangmen is a beautiful green city. I believe no one wants to see it awash with the blood of dogs.'
The number of people who died of rabies in Jiangmen between 2008 and 2010
- The city had 12,014 dog attacks last year