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November 11, 2010

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Issues over cheap dog licenses

CHEAPER dog licenses are expected to encourage more pet owners to obtain them and get free vaccination shots for their canines but the predicted rise in applications provides a challenge for the city's pet management authorities.

Shanghai will not have enough dog license centers or shelters next year when the draft of the city's canine-owning regulation takes effect.

Shanghai now has only three authorized centers providing licenses and vaccinations.

Another three are under construction, but capacity will still lag behind demand, said Chen Zhaofeng, a local lawmaker, yesterday as the draft was deliberated.

"We will be unable to handle so many dogs if people voluntarily apply for licenses after the law takes effect," he said.

One of the three stations operated by the Shanghai Animal Disease Control and Prevention Center vaccinates about 30,000 dogs a year, according to a veterinarian, who asked not to be identified, working at the station in Changning District.

The city has an estimated 750,000 pet dogs, including 140,000 licensed ones.

The draft recommends cutting the price of a dog license to 300 yuan (US$45) per year.

The license now costs 1,000 yuan to 2,000 yuan annually inside the inner ring road. It costs 500 yuan to 1,000 yuan per year outside the inner ring road.

The draft also recommends a limit of one dog per household, which would force many to give away canines.

This creates another problem as the city has only one government operated shelter to accept lost, stray or unwanted dogs.

Wang Guanchang, a deputy for the Shanghai People's Congress, expressed concern about the lack of dog shelters. "We have proposed setting up more shelters across the city, but it still wouldn't be enough.

"We should carry out a census for dogs in the city and then we can make more specific clauses."


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