years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
Officials amend ban rules after public outcry – 4 Aug 2011
August 2011: On 28 July, the Jiangmen City authorities in the Southern Chinese province of Guangdong issued a notice to dog owners living in the Pengjiang, Jianghai and Xinhui districts of the city, banning the keeping of dogs. Exceptions are provided for those dogs being kept for special purposes such as guard dogs.
The Jiangmen Daily reported that the notice was given to "prevent and control rabies, maintain public order and sanitation, and create a sound environment for the people". The Jiangmen Daily said that a total of 42 people died from rabies in the last three years.
Gong Rongmao, a veterinarian from the local agricultural bureau, told the Nanfang Daily that all seized dogs will be sent to a shelter in the suburbs. "After that, dogs found with diseases will be euthanized in a humanitarian manner. We will sign agreements with owners before putting down their dogs," Li Wantong, technology director at an animal disease control center under the city's agricultural bureau, told the Global Times."We will try to find solutions for healthy ones, as we do not have the capacity to keep a large number of them," Li said. A government spokesperson has said that dogs are already being received at the centre.
The city gave dog owners until Aug 25 to remove their dogs from the restricted zones, after this date dogs would reportedly be confiscated by the government.
The action proposed by the Jiangmen authorities does not have the support of disease control experts in China. Dr Tang Qing of the National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention at China's Centre for Disease Control said “This [ban] is not scientific, not humane, and it will not last long. In the short term, maybe it could be effective, but after that, people still want to keep dogs. People won't accept it and implementing it will be difficult – you can't break down doors to seize and kill dogs."
An online poll has resulted in 93% of respondents disagreeing with the total dog ban, with over 5,000 people being strictly opposed to the ban.
Animals Asia is appalled by this notice and on 3 August our China Cat and Dog Welfare Team contacted the Director of the Jiangmen City Public Security Bureau appealing for the city not to take this action. We offered to meet with the government to discuss supporting the implementation of education initiatives to encourage responsible dog ownership, reduce dog bites, and the problem of dog-overpopulation, and provide information on the appropriate care of pet dogs, and disease-control.
Due to pressure from Animals Asia and animal protection organisations across China, residents of Jiangmen City and the media; the government provided a slightly revised policy on 3 August stating:
Dogs at the former four limited areas could be keep at home but cannot go into public areas such as parks, plazas, streets, business districts, schools, kindergartens, shopping malls, hotels, bus stations and docks.
Citizens who take their dogs to public areas will be asked to send their dogs to a non-limited area outside of the restricted zone.
The dog raising rule has been developed to reduce dog bite incidents.
Whilst we are pleased that the government have announced dogs can stay with their families, we are still very concerned that the ban on dogs being in public places remains in place and the authorities have not given any guarantee that dogs will not be confiscated and killed.
We will continue our appeals to the government to recommend vaccination, registration, neutering and community based responsible dog ownership initiatives as the most effective and humane means of minimising problems associated with dog behaviour, animal abandonment and the transmission of communicable diseases, such as rabies.
We have supplied the Jiangmen authorities with our recommendations for humane dog management regulations and appealed for the development of a rabies vaccination programme to prevent any further rabies incidents. We have also extended an invitation to the authorities to attend our “China dog management workshop” in Shanghai from 15-16 September 2011, held in association with Shanghai Small Animal Protection Association, Shanghai Public Security Bureau and Humane Society International.
We will continue to work with the people of Jiangmen city in an attempt to prevent this ban being implemented.