The fates of tens of thousands of pet dogs in Jiangmen, China, seemed to hang in the balance earlier this week, after city officials announced that they were banning dogs from the most populous urban areas. Dog owners had until August 26 to take their pets to facilities where the dogs would either be placed with rural families, or euthanized. Since the ban would affect an estimated 30,000 dogs, it seems likely that a large number of the dogs would meet the latter end.
However, pet owners’ pleas seem to have been successful. A “fierce wave of protest” inspired city authorities to roll back the ban, although Jiangmen is still requiring some changes. According to the China Daily, “Citizens will be able to keep their pets but are forbidden from taking them to some public areas including parks, city squares, schools, kindergartens, shopping malls and hotels etc.” When dogs are found in public places, authorities will, instead of forcibly removing the animals, try to convince the owners to move the pet themselves.
The outrage seems mostly to have come from Chinese dog owners, intent upon keeping their pets. But it’s clear that China does need to do something to deal with its rabies problem, which was the impetus for the original ban. Rounding up and killing or removing dogs is a poor solution, as many experts pointed out. But perhaps Chinese authorities should look into large-scale vaccination and education programs, so that dogs do not become a public health hazard.
Photo from Nathan R. Yergler via Creative Commons Labs.