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November 30, 2010

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City told it's barking up wrong tree in dog plans

PET owners have savaged city plans to allow only one dog per household, claiming the controversial clause added to draft regulations is "unfeasible."

At a public hearing yesterday, locals suggested that the requirement should be made according to the location of owners' homes and housing conditions.

Sun Xuehua, a member of a local neighborhood committee, said the proposal is reasonable, but said how it will be carried out or who will be responsible for management has not been detailed. "People can raise more than one dog at home, but cannot apply for licenses for their dogs," Sun said. "So, what do we do?"

Zheng Jue, a local resident, also partly agreed with the proposal. In downtown districts people usually live in apartment buildings, and it makes sense to limit dog ownership to one per household due to limited space, said Zheng.

But in rural areas, where some people own bigger houses, they should be allowed to own more dogs, provided they don't disturb neighbors, added Zheng.

Liu Jian, a legislation expert, said raising pet dogs is people's right; regulations should be same for all the dog owners, no matter where they lived. "It's not fair that people with bigger houses, usually rich people, should have more dogs," Liu added.

There are also concerns that the "one dog per household" policy will force many owners to give away their pets to adoption shelters or dump them on streets.

Shanghai has one government-operated shelter to take lost, stray or unwanted dogs.

According to the new draft - which bans people from abandoning dogs - the shelter "deals with" dogs not claimed after 30 days. Some residents claim this means they would be destroyed.

In an online post, city resident Qiao Mai said that it is not humane to "deal with" dogs. "We should have agencies to accept more dogs - not to kill them."

Shanghai has 140,000 licensed dogs. Unlicensed canines are estimated to exceed 600,000.


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