Police in eastern China use QR codes on dog collars to bring pet owners to heel

Under new system, licence information can be accessed using an app and owners will be fined and lose points for misdemeanours

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 August, 2018, 3:49pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 August, 2018, 4:26pm

Dog owners who let their pets roam the streets, fail to clean up after their animals or allow other misdemeanours can now be fined by police by scanning a QR code in eastern China.

The latest city to introduce the system is Xuzhou, in Jiangsu province, where a mobile phone app is soon to be launched that will allow dog owners to register their animals online, Jiangsu Television reported on Thursday.

The process is straightforward – the dog owner uploads their documents to the app, pays a fee and the police then issue a licence.

In Jinan, Shandong province, the app has already been in use since January last year. If, for example, a police officer comes across a dog off its leash on the streets, they can open the app on their phone and scan the QR code on a tag attached to the animal’s collar to get instant access to its details, where it is registered and any previous problems, according to Beijing Youth Daily.

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A demerit point system is used, so for a first offence the dog owner will be warned and 3 points are deducted from their licence. The second time, they lose 6 points and are fined from 200 to 500 yuan (US$29 to US$73). A third offence will result in a 12-point deduction.

Once an owner loses 12 points, their dog will be confiscated and only returned once they have passed a test administered by the police on the city’s pet ownership policy.

As a growing number of middle-class Chinese become pet owners, authorities in Jinan say the system is working to reduce problems. There are now some 50 million registered dogs in the country, the China Pet Products Association reported earlier this year, and pet ownership is growing at 15 per cent a year.

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Since Jinan introduced the system at the start of last year, some 1,430 dog owners have been penalised and 122 of them have had to sit the test, according to the newspaper. Twelve people failed the test and their dogs were rehomed.

According to police, complaints from the public about dogs being off their leashes dropped by 43 per cent in 2017 from the previous year, the report said. Complaints about dogs biting people and barking were down 65 per cent in the same period, they said.

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