Shanghai bites back against dog attacks with one-pet policy

Chinese ruling: what's good enough for the human is good enough for the dog. Shanghai is to extend the one-child policy to man's best friend after tens of thousands of people complained of being bitten last year – and to prevent dog mess spoiling the country's showcase business city.

The rule has already been imposed in several other Chinese cities, but Shanghai's size – it has a population of more than 20 million – has made the presence of thousands of dogs more problematic. Dogs bigger than 3ft will be banned from the centre of the city and so-called "attack dogs", including bulldogs, will be banned completely.

The ruling is the latest instance of uneasy relationships between man's best friend and the Chinese authorities. During the Communist era of Mao Zedong, pets were frowned upon as a middle-class affectation and government opponents were condemned as capitalist running dogs. But China's growing openness, combined with its rising affluence, means that pets are making a comeback, and there are around 100 million pet dogs in China. However, from May, a one-dog policy will be introduced in Shanghai and more than 600,000 unlicensed dogs will be declared illegal – and killed because of fears of rabies.

Last year, more than 140,000 people told police they had been bitten by dogs. Each year, there are people dying from rabies after being attacked by unlicensed dogs, according to the municipal public security bureau.

However, the new regulation has been the subject of long and heated debate among the city's law makers. Shanghai suffers from high population density and increasingly cramped living conditions, which means that pets must pay their way through dog licences. And the authorities want a bit less barking. Not everyone agrees.

"If you can't find any adopters and the shelters are full, where would the puppies go?" one elderly woman surnamed Huang, who has been raising a dog for six years, told the China Daily. Another dog lover, surnamed Wang, said: "The government should improve public knowledge about how to raise a dog and how to prevent them from attacking people and littering instead of forcing us to raise one dog only."

The draft legislation requires dog owners to give away any puppies or send them to government-approved adoption agencies by the time they are three months old to abide by the one-dog policy. The alternative is for owners to perform sterilisation surgery on their dogs.

The regulation is in line with the one-child policy for humans, imposed in 1979 as a way of reining in population growth already running at dangerously high levels in the world's most populous nation. In the early 1980s, there was widespread sterilisation, especially among women in the countryside.

The National Population and Family Planning Commission believes that some 400 million human births have been prevented by the policy.

Worst in show?

Denpasar, Bali

Half a million stray dogs roam this Indonesian island, and its main hospital treats around 300 dog bites a day. Since 2008, 65 bite victims have died after contracting rabies.



Srinagar, India

More than 100,000 dogs live on Srinagar's streets. Residents oppose a cull, so authorities have pinned their hopes on a pest expert who has promised to remove the strays without harming them.



Paris, France

The French capital declared it was no longer "the dog mess capital of the world" in 2009 after a successful re-education programme taught dog owners to pick up after their pets.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: In House Counsel - Contracts

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat