Beijing dog owners call for rethink after big dog ban

27 June 2013

Animals Asia is supporting Beijing dog owners who have called for a more reasoned approach to the “big dogs” law now being implemented in parts of the city.

The law bans dogs that reach a mature height of over 35 centimetres as well as a long list of breeds no longer allowed to be kept. In addition the law limits families to one dog each. As a result dogs kept as companions are already being confiscated in the city.

The move follows a ruling first passed in 2003 but not implemented in full until now. It’s believed the latest moves are as a direct result of recent reported dog attacks as well as a stated increase of deaths from rabies. Larger dogs are being seen by the government as incompatible with city living.

As a result Animals Asia understands families are already hiding dogs or have sent them to be cared for outside the central area stipulated by the law.

In anticipation of the ruling being implemented, a number of local dog-owning groups had previously suggested amendments to government via the 30 National People’s Congress members who have supported their aims. Celebrities Sun Ning, Li Jing, Xiong Naijin and Wang Yixin have also voiced their concerns via Chinese social media platforms. Elsewhere one group of concerned dog lovers has already gathered a petition with 4,000 backing a change to the regulations.

Following consultation with dog-carer representatives, Animals Asia has sent an open letter to the government suggesting a more humane and scientific approach to dog management. The letter calls upon the government to instead promote responsible ownership and concentrate on ensuring guidelines are followed with owners legally obliged to raise dogs responsibly.

Practical, responsible measures include government support in requiring owners to ensure rabies vaccinations. Other requirements of carers include keeping dogs on leads while walking as well as the spaying and neutering of dogs.

The letter also questions the “one family one dog” law and reminds that dog size is not an accurate reflection of temperament and shouldn’t be used as such.

Animals Asia founder Jill Robinson said:

“While there is common ground between owners and government we have to hope that there can be a resolution to the current problem. We believe there is a better, more effective solution that can be acceptable to both parties. Dogs as companions are increasingly part of our lives, families and culture and the law needs to reflect this.”