When of us think of the words “pets” and “Shanghai” together, usually images of Poodles with hot pink fur or Shih-Tzus wearing pajamas come to mind, or maybe that ubiquitous songbird. But for local animal lover Wu Kunqi, a lapdog just wouldn’t cut it – rather, his pet alternative was… a horse?
That’s right, a horse. For the past three months, Wu, 57, has been riding the high plains of Shanghai with Xinxin, a one-and-a-half-year-old horse, which he keeps inside his home in Baoshan district. Wu, a diabetic, says that he bought the horse for “health reasons” and claims that riding Xinxin for half an hour is the equivalent of “playing a basketball game.”
For most city folk, owning a pet that won’t fit in the basket of a bicycle or a handbag seems pretty strange, and Wu’s neighbors seem to agree. According to one neighbor, “I think it’s ridiculous… it could still effect the sanitation of the place.” Another, more ambivalent, neighbor went on to say:
“This is not a zoo, you can’t keep horses here! But because we’ve never seen a horse in our life before, seeing one is actually quite nice… There’s lot of people who keep dogs. How do you control it if someone wants to keep a pet? Where does it state in the regulations that you can’t own a horse?”
Apparently it doesn’t. While the City Environmental Sanitation department restricts Shanghai residents from keeping chickens, ducks and smaller livestock in their homes, it seems there is no regulation prohibiting horses – which makes us wonder what other strange pets might theoretically be “allowed”. Also, given recent stories about the country’s zoos, perhaps Wu’s house isn’t such a bad place for Xinxin after all.