What the hell is up with this city – nay, this country’s – almost irrational fear of dogs? Just in time for the Expo, the Shanghai government has issued an announcement that “strengthens dog ownership and management regulations” and it treats our canine companions like they’re furry four-legged fiends bent on ripping any human they see to shreds.
According to the provisions, which I translated from this Sina article:
- Dogs will not be allowed anywhere in the Expo Village until the end of the year (December 31, 2010)… that’s actually two months after the World Expo ends.
- At the same time, dogs are banned from being anywhere near or around the World Expo site, People’s Square area, the Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone and other key areas – sports venues, railway stations and crowded public places.
- Dogs must be leashed while on the streets and larger breeds MUST wear muzzles when being walked.
- Only adults are allowed to walk dogs in public.
- Dog walkers must actively avoid the elderly, the disabled, pregnant people and children.
- Owners must pick up their pets’ excrement and will face a large fine if they do not (though the fine has yet to be specified).
Okay, the last one I agree should happen, though it’s also the hardest to enforce and it’s relatively toothless, considering the “fine structure” doesn’t exist yet. Much like fines for smoking and car honking, these will probably be largely ignored by the irresponsible pet owners that don’t actually pick up their puppies’ poo.
But really? ONLY adults can walk dogs? What about my teenage sister, who has more control over her Schnauzer than her ayi does? Why do big dogs need to be muzzled – are they more likely to bite strangers because they’re big? And how stupid is it that you can’t bring a dog around a pregnant person? Heck, they have much more to fear from cats (at least their poo).
Sure, dog attacks do happen. And yes, rabies and worms and other parasites dogs can carry are potentially dangerous to people. But why then isn’t the Shanghai government first lowering the price for licenses so that pet owners can get their new mandatory dog vaccinations if they care so much? Lowering the astronomical administration fee to a more palatable price would encourage more people to go do dog ownership right and more education about how to treat and train pets would probably solve some of the behavioral problems that do exist.
What won’t help is trying to make it so dogs don’t exist where ever paranoid city officials think they’ll cause trouble. Other countries have lived with them as pets for years now; considering how good China is at “importing solutions,” why wouldn’t it be better to steal a little of how those places have learned to handle the situation?