Dog owners in the city that is preparing to host the 2010 Asian Games are angry and upset at the thought of having to choose which of their dogs they can keep.
From July, each family in Guangzhou will be permitted to own one dog only, no matter how many they may have now.
The city has a stray dog problem and China has the highest level of rabies second only to India. The move is thought to be a way to help control these problems and clean up the city in advance of the Asian Games.
Until just a few years ago, people in China were not allowed to keep dogs as pets at all as it was considered to be too bourgeois. Since pet dogs have now been allowed, many middle class families rushed to have one. Many owners do not vaccinate or neuter their animals and many have been abandoned, making the problem of stray dogs and rabies even worse.
It is difficult to believe that this is the answer to the problem though. Many veterinarians in the city are now receiving telephone calls looking to rehome their pet dogs and many predict the number of strays will only increase from July and the implementation of this new law.
In Hanzxhong, Shaanxi province, all dogs in villages infected with rabies were ordered to be destroyed and in the period from May to the 11th June over 34,000 dogs were killed. This is not the only area where this has happened and reports were abound with allegations that officials had even beaten dogs to death before their owners eyes.
If families have one dog or ten, if they wish to keep them surely laws could be passed enforcing registration and vaccination. There must be another answer to this problem.