Shanghai adopts 'One-Dog Policy'
Shanghai’s debate over the One-Child Policy is on the back-burner as the city comes to terms with its newest set of regulations: the One-Dog Policy.
Starting from Sunday, May 15, Shanghai residents can now only own one dog per hoursehold. Owners of multiple dogs enjoyed amnesty as long as they registered their pups before last Sunday.
Although some residents say that enforcement of the new regulations will go the way of China’s most recent indoor smoking ban, considering the severity of the unregistered dog round-ups of the last few years, many Shanghaining aren’t taking any chances with Rover.
Before the policy came into effect, there were approximately 140,000 licensed dogs in the city and at least 600,000 unlicensed, according to a recent report in Shanghai Daily.
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Previously, to register a dog in Shanghai, licensing fees could cost up to RMB 2,000 in some districts, a price that dissuaded many from starting the paperwork. Under the new scheme, the fee is only RMB 500, much easier on local wallets.
In addition to reducing prices, to make getting a license more convenient, the number of dog registration offices will increase from the current 18 to 350 across Shanghai over the next year.
As the close of Shanghai’s multi-dog registration amnesty period neared, local pet stores reported that they saw a slight rise in the sale of dogs, as people who were considering multiple puppies try to get in under the wire.
More than just a “One-Dog Policy”
"I'm quite satisfied with the new law, which reminds dog owners to be responsible for their dog and to avoid damaging public places or affecting others' lives— Tang Jinyao, Shanghai dog owner
Although the “one household, one dog” part of the new pet policy is hogging the spotlight of public debate at the moment, the new dog laws also include an improvement in owner responsibility. Under the new regulations, not only would a license for your (one) dog be cheaper, but owners would be required to leash their dog and clear up after it -- with fines of RMB 200 accompanying tickets.
Shanghai previously has no such laws.
Additionally, owners whose “dogs endanger public safety” -- although the term is not defined in the new policy -- will face fines ranging from RMB 5,000 to RMB 50,000. People who abuse or abandon their dogs will be subject to stiff fines and won't be allowed to apply for another pet license for five years.
"The regulation is not only aimed at encouraging dog owners to conduct themselves well while raising pets, but also elaborates on their legal obligations," said Ding Wei, the leader of the panel that drew up the new rules, during an online discussion held by the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress last Monday.
Although people could register multiple dogs through May 15, before the One-Dog Policy cames into effect, all dogs -- and their owners -- will be subject to the same fines.
"I'm quite satisfied with the new law, which reminds dog owners to be responsible for their dog and to avoid damaging public places or affecting others' lives," said Tang Jinyao, a 28-year-old man who owns a Pomeranian in Shanghai, to state media reporters.
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Ensuring that people comply with the new policy will be an ongoing issue for the city, which, Shanghai Daily reports, will have to rely heavily on the public and organizations such as neighborhood committees and residential property managements.
Legislators have also talked about introducing volunteer teams to help persuade dog owners to comply with the law, as well as building pet toilets in major downtown hubs, including People’s Square, as a way to ensure people clean up after their dogs.
Shanghai is not the first city to enforce a One-Dog Policy. Similar laws already exist in other major Chinese cities including Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu.