Urban management officers in Hangzhou, the capital of eastern Zhejiang Province, are clamping down on bad canine behavior problems by telling dog owners to register their pets and walk them on a leash.
The clampdown comes in the wake of a dog owner brutally attacking a woman who tried to separate his unleashed dog from her children in the city earlier this month. The attack has helped to raise public awareness of dangerous dog-raising habits.
From mid-November to the end of December, officers will patrol the city to check if there are any infringements on behalf of dog owners, such as having no license or walking a dog without a leash in public places like squares and parks.
“We do not target dogs themselves. We aim to regulate dog owners,” said Duan Cunguo, an urban management officer in the city’s Xihu district.
“We help to make sure that local residents raise dogs properly, get them registered and walk them on a leash,” said Duan, before denying online accusations that colleagues have been beating dogs with sticks and of other animal cruelties.
Conflicts between dog owners and residents are becoming more frequent in China as more and more people in the country keep dogs as pets.
Currently, about 56.5 million people in China’s urban areas raise a total of 91.5 million pet dogs and cats, according to a white paper on the pet industry. As a result, there has been a rise in reports of people being bitten by dogs and other canine-related disputes.
Besides Hangzhou, other cities, including Wuhan of Hubei Province, Guangzhou of Guangdong Province and Wenshan of Yunnan Province, have also unveiled measures.
Starting next year, dog owners in Wuhan could be fined up to 1,000 yuan (US$144) if they fail to walk their dogs on a leash with a tag, as well as a muzzle.