Shanghai surprised by new ‘one dog per owner’ rule

In a move that is bound to affect dog breeders in Shanghai, officials at the city have decreed that each household may only own just one dog.

The move comes as a reaction to the spiralling problems of dog attacks, rabies, rampant barking and fouled pavements in the Chinese metropolis.

In 2010, official statistic showed that over 140,000 incidents of dog attacks on humans were reported, and that the number of animals with rabies had increased dramatically due to “unlicensed canines”.

In an effort to halt the spread of the deadly disease, and the number of dog bite incidents, the new law is set to take effect from the beginning of May.

The new policy will also enforce the euthanising of stray or unlicensed canines – of which 600,000 are thought to be at large in the city.

In addition, certain breeds considered to be “attack dogs”, such as bulldogs and mastiffs, will face an outright ban. In fact, any breed of dog that measures more than 3 feet will be outlawed.

The law requires that any dog breeder must give their pups to an eligible household – in other words, one that does not already have a dog – or a state approved puppy adoption agency. The numbers of Shanghai residents who own dogs has increased, as more people find themselves part of the middle classes, thanks to China’s fast growing economy. Estimates put the number of dogs in the city at 800,000. However, less than 200,000 are registered with authorities.

China as a whole is home to more than 58 million pet dogs, with the number increasing by 30 per cent year on year.