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March 29, 2011

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Pets in hiding at 'zoo' after dog catchers call

PET owners in a city community dubbed "a zoo" because so many cats and unlicensed dogs roamed free are keeping their animals at home after dog catchers paid a visit.

Three dogs at Hudong Community were taken away by police at the weekend following complaints at the complex in suburban Pudong New Area that animals were running amok, howling at all hours, jumping up on people and fouling public areas.

But visiting the community yesterday, less than a week after a previous visit, a Shanghai Daily reporter found almost no dogs.

"Three dog catchers came on Friday and dragged three dogs away in front of residents," said Chen Baoyun, an official with the community's neighborhood committee.

"Dog owners are stunned and dare not take their unlicensed pets out for a walk."

Chen said the catchers took away a huge black dog, its daughter and an unlucky brown dog which happened to wander into the complex from other community. She didn't say what happened to them.

The three dogs had owners but were unlicensed and left to live outside, said residents.

Chen said the committee had asked police dog catchers for help as there were no other options left.

Volunteers from an animal protection non-government organization had offered to collect cats to be sterilized in pet hospitals, but the treatment would cost 200 yuan (US$30.40) for each animal.

This was too expensive for the mostly elderly residents.

"I hate the cats crying desperately in the middle of night, but I wouldn't pay 200 yuan to stop them breeding," said an 80-year-old resident surnamed Zhu. "It's almost my monthly money and other cats would still cry."

In a community where many elderly pet owners cannot even afford a dog license, residents would rather spend the 200 yuan hiring workers to remove all the small animals, said Chen.

The community of 1,300 households has between 200 and 400 pets, say officials.


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