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September 21, 2009

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City brings in licenses for dogs before culling

A CITY in northwestern China introduced a new license system for dogs yesterday, a month ahead of its planned cull of street dogs.

Residents of Weinan City, Shaanxi Province, must apply for a license for their pet dogs within one month or face the prospect of their dogs being seized and killed by police officers, said the city's Public Security Bureau.

Recent dog bans in Hanzhong, Shaanxi Province, and Heihe, Heilongjiang Province, have sparked online outrage and raised public attention about animal rights.

On May 23, in response to increasing rabies cases, the Hanzhong City government ordered all dogs in rabies-infected villages be killed. More than 34,000 dogs were killed in two weeks, according to the local government.

Dog killings have also taken place in Chongqing Municipality, Shandong, Yunnan, Guangdong and Fujian provinces and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in the past three years, all to control rabies.

Meanwhile, China has drafted its first animal welfare law ready to be submitted to the government by the end of the year.

Currently, only endangered species are protected. There is no penalty for hurting or killing other animals sold for food or as pets.

The new draft law bans indiscriminate animal abuse, including dog culls, and violators may face up to three years in jail.

Domestic legal experts have also recommended restrictions on raising animals, including bans on unauthorized sales or reproduction.

Chang Jiwen, head of the team to draft the new animal law and a law professor from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said he held an optimistic view over the legislation and said the bill could be passed within 10 years.

Chang said the issue had won the concern of the National People's Congress as well as the wide support of Netizens.


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