Pet owners dismayed at China's one-dog law

Anger at policy to fight spread of rabies and regulate pet industry

The residents of Guangzhou, one of China's most affluent cities, are already used to sticking to the country's strict one-child rule, but a new regulation is about to force many dog owners to make an impossible decision.

From next month, new regulations will come into action meaning households will be allowed only one dog, meaning anybody with two or more pooches will be allowed to keep only their favourite.

The rule is apparently being brought in as a response to the city's stray dog problem, as a way to prevent the spread of rabies and regulate the pet industry. Pets were considered a bourgeois affectation and banned in the time of Chairman Mao, but have now increased in popularity.

Guangzhou – in the south of the country – is a wealthy city, and as the middle class has grown so has the number of dog owners. The result of many having dogs for the first time is that the pets are often abandoned, and this problem has been increased by owners failing to neuter their pets. Next year the city will host the Asian Games, and authorities are attempting to improve its appearance before the event.

Similar rules are in place in many other Chinese cities, including Beijing. But some people – including a veterinarian at a pet hospital in Guangzhou's Haizhu district – claim that the introduction of the one-dog rule will result in more pets being abandoned on the street. "The hospital cannot take in more pets," the vet, who would identify himself only as Mr Zhang, told the China Daily.

Mao Mao, the founder of a stray dog's shelter, says that since the regulation was announced in March, they now receive 10 calls a day from owners looking to get rid of a pet. "I'm afraid there are going to be many more stray dogs in July when the one-dog regulation becomes effective," she told the Associated Press.

Dog-owners have reacted with anger to the new rule. "These dogs are like family. How can you keep one and get rid of the others?" said Mrs Chen, a middle-aged housewife from Guangzhou. Mrs Chen is the owner of two dogs – a Pekingese mix and a terrier mutt – and would not give her full name because she feared that she might be traced by authorities who would then take one of her dogs.

Rabies is a major problem in China. The country's Ministry of Health says it has the second highest rate in the world after India. About 35,000 dogs have already been killed in a cull in the Shaanxi province, after an increase in the number of rabies cases. The cull, which started last month, was ordered by the city of Hanzhong and has caused much anger among animal-lovers in the country.

Shi Ruihua, a government official, said that "dog-beating" teams had been ordered to kill any dogs they found on the street, even if the dogs had registered owners. He told The Wall Street Journal that the method of execution was chosen because it was the most practical, and that 360,000 dogs in the countryside surrounding the city were to be vaccinated.

Too bourgeois for Mao: The rise of China's designer dogs

They were prohibited under the regime of Chairman Mao for being too bourgeois, but since the ban was lifted, pets have surged in popularity in China – even if you can still find dog meat on some restaurant menus.

Dogs are becoming so pampered that there are even a number of designers specialising in pet fashion. Hu Xi, who set up her studio in 2000 and now has a small factory in Beijing, makes around 10,000 yuan (£895) a month during the winter. "When my dogs go out they always wear shoes and they change clothes every day," Hu told Reuters. But strict rules on dog ownership remain in force. In 2006, Beijing banned dogs in public places. There is also a ban on any dog over 14 inches in the city, and informers who turn in oversized animals get a reward.

Dog meat is often eaten in the winter months because it is believed to warm the blood, while the penis is regarded as an aphrodisiac. However, in the build-up to the Beijing Olympics last year, the 112 official restaurants were told to take dog meat off their menus in order to avoid offending tourists. The Olympics were not all good news for dogs though – there was also a massive cull of pets in the lead-up to the Games.

Suggested Topics
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little