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July 25, 2012

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Dog fees to drop again as city works to increase vaccinations

THE city government is poised to further lower licensing and vaccine expenses by increasing the governmental budget to encourage more locals to keep their dogs and others safe.

This comes as a government survey released yesterday showed that about half of Shanghai residents are unwilling to vaccinate or license their pet dogs because of the service charges.

Shanghai has lowered the price of a dog license from 2,000 yuan (US$313) each year to 500 yuan inside the Inner Ring Road and from 1,000 yuan to 300 yuan outside it since May last year, when a local law took effect.

Details on further decreases are not available.

Dogs also need to be vaccinated each year at government authorized facilities. The cheapest cost is 60 yuan as the law mandates.

The lower costs for legally owning a pet dog has fueled a surge in licensed dogs and vaccinations in Shanghai for the past 14 months, police said.

But cost is still the biggest barrier keeping more canines from being vaccinated and licensed to improve rabies control, according to the survey by Shanghai People's Congress.

The survey, covering thousands of local residents, showed 49.8 percent of them said they or their neighbors don't license the dogs simply because "the service costs money." And 50 percent chose the same reason to explain why their own dogs or others still aren't vaccinated.

Shanghai Daily interviewed several local dog raisers and they agreed that easing costs more would motivate more to vaccinate and license their pets.

"I also wish the government could break the one-dog-only limit so that we could legally license both dogs at home," said a female dog raiser, who asked not to be identified.

The law allows each local family to raise only one dog. The rules are believed by many to have increased the number of strays.

Since the passing of the local law on raising dogs last May, more than 400,000 dogs have been vaccinated at authorized clinics and 260,000-plus licensed, according to Zhang Xuebing, director with the Shanghai Public Security Bureau.

The numbers respectively improved by 187 percent and 90 percent from a year ago, he said.

The city has received 60 percent fewer nuisance complaints about dogs during the past 14 months from a year earlier, and the recorded dog bite cases have also declined substantially, police said.

But rabies control remains challenging. There are at least 600,000 dogs in Shanghai homes.

Licensed and vaccinated ones are only 43 percent and 67 percent, respectively, of the estimated total. Strays are outside the estimate.

The local law mandates fines for negligence of duties by dog owners ranging from 200 yuan to 1,000 yuan.


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