Planet China

Howls of protest

The Chinese zodiac says we are in the Year of the Dog. But no one seems to have reminded government officials in the city of Wenshan in Yunnan. In late October they released new rules for dog owners that some netizens have dubbed “the most restrictive in history”. Others have praised the ‘Notice on Strengthening the Management of Dogs in Wenshan’ for keeping the city’s canines under better control.

As we pointed out in WiC398, dog ownership has grown to unprecedented levels in China, which has prompted concerns for public safety in some cities, particularly where bigger, more aggressive dogs are the pets (Tibetan Mastiffs are especially feared, for instance).

Wenshan’s response is to ban all walking of dogs between the hours of 7am and 10pm, meaning that the animals can only be exercised after dark. Owners must keep them on a leash of a metre or less, and only adults are permitted to take their dogs out with them, not children.

Dog owners have complained that the rules are draconian and that it is unfair to punish everybody just because a few don’t control their animals in an acceptable way.

Other netizens gave their wholehearted backing to the ban, although they wondered how easy the measures would be to enforce. Perhaps the most measured comment was that the directive was always going to be divisive, however. “This is something where you can’t reach agreement. Dog owners will say no and others will say yes,” one acknowledged.

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