It’s not a great time to be a dog in China. Over 36,000 dogs were recently killed in response to a rabies outbreak – including both strays and pets. And now, families living with more than one dog in Guangzhou, China have until July 1 to eliminate all but one dog.
It’s awful to imagine picking between family members – the sort of thing that used to terrorize me when going to sleep as a young girl. But in this region of China, many families are about to make tough choices.
It might not seem that extreme in a country that restricts the number of children you can have. And, many regions of China have long required one-dog policies for Chinese families. Still, imposing the restriction on families now, without “grandfathering in” existing intact families seems particularly cruel.
City officials have declined to discuss their reasons, but some reporters guess that the new middle class in this region has made matters difficult by allowing un-neutered dogs loose in the streets, causing overpopulation problems. The Associated Press also reports that Guangzhou is preparing to host the Asian Games next year, and crews have been scrubbing down and sprucing up the city of 12 million people. Perhaps the idea is cleaner sidewalks?
If officials can so easily catch dogs and whisk them off to death, it certainly leaves me wondering if they might just as easily fine people for failure to collect their dog waste. I mean huge fines – the kind that make one look over one’s shoulder every time your dog squats. In fact, I kind of wish the U.S. would implement a similar crackdown on dog waste. It seems wrong that I need to collect not just my dog’s poo, but that of the annoyingly irresponsible dog walkers who litter my local trails so I can keep my children clean.
I digress. In any event, I wonder what these families are going to do. Will they hide their dogs? Walk them separately so it appears as though they have only one? What would you do?