While China finally got rid of its decades-old “one child” policy last year, the city of Qingdao is bringing it back — for dogs, at least.
According to the controversial new regulation, households in the city will be limited to just one dog each. If residents already have more than one dog, they will be allowed to keep them, just so long as the pooches are registered.
But, if they are not, then officials have encouraged residents to drop off their surplus mutts at an adoption agency, or else face initial fines of up to 2,000 RMB.
The law also bans certain “ferocious” breeds of canines, including Tibetan mastiffs and German shepherds.
A local official told the Beijing News that the new law comes as a result of the growing number of dogs in the city, which are causing problems, disturbing and even injuring residents. The restrictions went into effect in four downtown districts on Thursday.
Inevitably, the new rules have drawn comparisons online to China’s infamous former family planning policy which was marked with forced abortions and sterilizations, with netizens wondering how many innocents will have to die this time around.
“If I have one of the banned breeds, should I just kill it? According to these rules I have no other choice,” the Guardian quotes one web user as writing.
In more positive news for dog lovers, the new rules also establish fines of up to 2,000 yuan to those who slaughter, mistreat or abandon dogs. Multiple offenders will have their pets taken away. All dogs are required to be registered with authorities and vaccinated.
A number of Chinese cities have introduced similar laws in the past. Shanghai, for instance, passed its own “one dog” policy back in 2011. Meanwhile, other localities in China have taken things a further, including one Shandong village which issued a pet ban in 2015, threatening to kill all dogs owned by residents, even if they had an animal license.
However, there is reason to believe that after a while things won’t be too ruff for Qingdao dog owners. One man from Chengdu who owns two dogs told Sixth Tone that while the regulation may be strictly enforced at first, eventually officials will just start turning a blind eye. “They don’t have the energy to manage the dogs on a daily basis unless incidents have happened,” he explained.
[Images via Imgur]
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