While Beijing’s controversial (and halted?) “one dog policy” has been grabbing headlines of late, other dog-related news has been happening out in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province. It turns out they’ve had a dog/rabies problem, and as of December 11 started to kick their campaign into high gear by rounding up all animals deemed in violation of their dog laws. This included killing 30 dogs during the first day, which was accomplished with clubs, mostly. Dogs that do not have licenses, dogs that are not kept properly (we don’t know quite what that means, but at least one owned dog was killed because of this regulation), etc. were all dealt with. The report has some stories in it of the day’s happenings, such as a black dog that was beaten death and about to be disposed of until the owner asked that he/she be able to do it themselves. Many owners whose dogs became victims of these policies seemed either to express sadness or remorse at not taking the proper precautions. Some were lucky and managed to cajole the “dog teams” into letting their dogs go, based only a on a verbal promise that they would get said dog out of the area of jurisdiction where they were violating laws and regulation.
What’s weird is that this November 24 report on Changsha’s dog policies (in Chinese) is titled something along the lines of “Changsha’s humane way of dealing with the dog problem.” This article is interesting because it provides at least one useful bit of information–which is that jurisdiction of the dog problem got transferred, earlier this year, from some animal issues type government bureau to the public security bureau. The article mentions that many people are opposed to the mass mobilization, political campaign styled dog roundups, and that much of the real work in combating rabies comes in vaccinations (which may or may not be real) and not beating stray dogs to death. This leaves us somewhat confused, because without being there, on the ground, we have no idea of how “humane” the recent Changsha measures have been. Nonetheless, even a stray dog deserves something better than to be cornered and beaten to death with clubs. The citizens of Changsha have expressed the opinion that some form of euthanasia would be preferable to beating dogs to death or using a bullet to the head. PSB has said that the costs of doing so would be prohibitive and is instead encouraging people to come up with cost-effective and humane solutions.