November 24, 2020

Chinese county sticks to dog-walking ban despite outcry

By haziqbinarif

According to local authorities, the regulations are intended to curb an alarming uptick in dog-related injuries and disputes in the country. When speaking to Sixth Tone, a country official surnamed Wu pointed to two factors that prompted the decision — a growing number of complaints about dogs biting people, and “a recent scuffle between a sanitation worker and a pet owner,” who left dog excrement in a public space.

Shortly after the ban was announced, Chinese social media was abuzz with indignation, with critics denouncing what they called “cruel” and “lazy” policies. “It’s common knowledge that domesticated dogs still need outdoor breaks for exercise and mental stimulation. Banning them from going out is basically ruining their lives,” a Weibo user wrote (in Chinese).

Many opponents also argued that instead of employing “extreme” measures to punish dogs for something they have no control over, the Weixin government should tighten its handling of irresponsible dog owners. “We welcome any regulations of dogs as long as it is pet-friendly and appropriate. Unlike Weixin’s ban on dog walking, we need more rules regulating the behavior of dog owners,” said (in Chinese) Sūn Hǎiyáng 孙海阳, a legal advisor for AITA (北京爱它动物保护公益基金), a Beijing-based foundation for animal protection.

However, not everyone was inclined to criticize the regulations. On Weibo, dog-haters were vocal about their support for the penalties, arguing that fretting over dogs excessively seemed to be a case of misplaced priorities, and an insult to the needs and safety of the human community. “Extreme measures are justifiable in precarious situations. And those dangerous dogs certainly have constituted a threat to the public,” a Weibo user commented (in Chinese).

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