Friday, 25 February 2011

Bad news for Shanghai dogs

There’s not much that would make me move away from where I live, but if a law was introduced like the one in the Chinese city of Shanghai, which allows only one dog per household, I’d be off like a shot.

Three dogs good...
I’ve seen different reports about the new rule. The BBC says that households with more than one licensed dog will be able to keep them, but new licenses will only be approved for households without a dog. This at least makes some kind of sense, as it would mean a natural decrease in the number of dogs as they naturally die out. Another, more worrying report in The Independent, says that owners of multiple pets will have to choose which one to keep.

Either way, I can see so many problems with this law. I doubt it will reduce the amount of stray and abandoned dogs – in fact, I suspect it will increase that number. And it must also mean that thousands of dogs will be needlessly destroyed.

Responsible dog owners are able keep a number of dogs as well as they keep one – either that, or they’re responsible enough to know that one is enough for them. It’s the irresponsible owners –those who allow their dogs to cause a nuisance, those who buy a dog without thinking of the commitment involved, those who abandon their dogs or, in the case of Shanghai, those who don’t register them with the authorities – who cause the problem. Will cutting the number of dogs owned by law-abiding, responsible owners really help to solve that problem?

I can see that unlicensed and stray dogs are a problem in Shanghai, but surely there’s another way to combat irresponsible dog ownership.

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