Government officials in Jiangmen, China are banning residents from having dogs as pets. Set to take place at the end of August, the ban will require all current dog owners to take their pets to a drop-off center where they will either be adopted by people who live in rural areas or euthanized. The goal of the ban is to reduce the number of dogs in areas of Jiangmen that are most densely populated.
According to the city government’s official notice on “Strengthening the Management of Dogs,” any dog owner that wants to keep their pet rather than surrender it to people unknown or sudden death will be allowed to apply for a license. However, it seems as though only people who plan to use their dogs for security for a warehouse or other business will be granted licenses.
According to the Chinese-language newspaper the Jiangmen Daily, 42 residents of the city have died from rabies in the past three years. Human safety in such a densely populated area most likely plays a key role in the decision to ban dogs. China has a history of responding to rabies threats by sanctioning the killing of dogs. However, it is unclear how many of those rabies attacks where caused by pet dogs instead of stray dogs.
An unnamed police officer in Jiangmen, told the China Daily:
“Our aim is not to kill all the dogs in the city’s urban areas, but we hope to create a better environment for the city by banning the keeping of dogs. We hope dog owners and residents can understand and cooperate with law enforcement personnel.”
While promoting the best circumstances for human health is obviously a worthwhile goal, it seems wholly unfair to require citizens to give up their pets. It is also a tremendous waste of life if the dogs are killed rather than placed elsewhere. This may be one case where what seems best on paper, and what seems right, totally diverge.