President Hu Jintao has intervened to end a national crackdown on dogs after reading complaints sent to him from dog owners, sources said yesterday. One petitioner said Mr Hu's chief secretary had told her the president had read her two petitions, signed by more than 60,000 people, calling for an end to the campaign. She said Mr Hu was unhappy about the complaints and international media coverage of the campaign, and had put a stop to the programme late last month. A government official confirmed Mr Hu had ordered a halt after reading the letters. Tens of thousands of dogs have been culled since the eradication campaign began in August. Authorities maintained it was necessary to deal with a rise in cases of rabies. In Beijing, the so-called 'civilising dog keeping' campaign began in October and was to have ended in the middle of this month. Under the campaign, dogs taller than 35cm were prohibited from downtown areas and each family was restricted to keeping a single pet dog. Fines were introduced for owners of dogs that defecated on the street or were found unchained. The move infuriated dog owners. About 500 staged a protest in the capital a month ago against the seizure and killing of the pets. Beijing authorities announced rosy results from the campaign on Monday, saying more than 550,000 dogs had been registered and vaccinated against rabies and progress was being made in efforts to find new homes for more than 600 seized or abandoned dogs. Yu Hongyuan , deputy director of the Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB), told Xinhua only 180,000 dogs had been registered in the city in 2002. But the official news agency said experts believed there were about one million dogs in the city, which would mean the authorities' job was only half done. PSB spokesman Yang Yaling would not say whether the campaign had ended. He said education of owners would continue. No officials would say how many dogs have been culled. Pet owner Zhang Tian said she had been despondent since one of her dogs was taken away. 'The seizure comes back to me again and again. Police came in and grabbed him from under my bed. Without even glancing at him, an officer took away Duo Duo, who had been with me for five years,' the 31-year-old said. 'Friends told me many dogs were burned in a suburban area. I can't bear thinking about it.' The family of Huang Yong , a protester detained last month for handing out T-shirts bearing slogans opposing the crackdown, still do not know whether he will be prosecuted or released. A lawyer friend said a case against him for disturbing social order had been submitted to prosecutors. Beijing Institute of Technology political analyst Hu Xingdou said China should not rely on campaigns to solve problems. Instead, it should work on developing sound legal and social systems to address the problems effectively. 'We have no supervision system under which people can question and denounce governments,' Professor Hu said.