Sunday, February 27, 2011

The New One-Dog Policy in Shanghai

Today I want to tell you about a really bad law that just got made in Shanghai, which is the biggest city in all of China.  And by "bad law" I mean that it is unfair and horrible for dogs and their owners, at least in my opinion.  Anyway, the reason this law got made is because the population of Shanghai is really huge, like about 23 million, which is way more people than I would want to count.  And a lot of those people have nice jobs, so they are in the middle class, and they want to have dogs as pets, just like other people in the world do.  So the number of dogs in Shanghai keeps growing.  Right now there are about 140,000 licensed dogs, and maybe as many as 600,000 that don't have licenses.

Anyway, because all these people have dogs, there have been a bunch of problems with barking and dog attacks and poop that didn't get picked up.  But instead of teaching people how they can be better dog owners and solve these problems, the Chinese authorities just decided that every home could only have one dog in it, just like every family can only have one child.

This new policy starts on May 15, so by then people have to get licenses and rabies vaccinations for their dogs.  Also all dogs will have to get annual check-ups.  And if people have more than one unlicensed dog, they have to get rid of the extra ones by finding homes for them or turning them in to shelters.  If you live in the center of the city, you cannot have a dog that is over 3 feet tall, and you are not allowed to own an "attack dog" such as a Tibetan Mastiff or an English Bulldog.

People who already have two or more licensed dogs will be allowed to keep those dogs, and if anyone's dog has a litter of puppies, the puppies have to be taken to an approved adoption agency when they are three months old.  If you don't pick up after your dog, you will have to pay a $30 fine.  If your dog attacks humans twice or bites two humans in the same attack, the police will take your dog away from you.  And if you don't follow any of the other rules about owning a dog, you will have to pay a fine of $150, and your dog will be taken away.

One good thing is that you can get a dog license at half the cost if your dog is spayed or neutered.  But the licenses will probably cost $150 after the new laws start.  This seems like a lot to pay for a dog license, but it's better than what people have to pay now, which is $300.  Which may be why a lot of people don't license their dogs.

The Chinese people weren't always allowed to have dogs as pets.  Back when Mao Zedong was in charge, people who owned dogs were thought of as being capitalists, which was a very bad thing.  But now the communists are not so strict, and they let people have businesses and make money and stuff like that.  And they can also have dogs.  So in all of China, there may be 100 million pet dogs.  Some cities have already made a one-dog rule, but Shanghai is the biggest city to do this.

Mom has been to Shanghai twice, and she says it is a very big, very crowded city.  The people live in really tall apartment buildings with little balconies where they hang their clothes out on the line to dry.  There is so much smog that you cannot see the sun during a lot of the year.  So anyway, Mom says that she can understand why it would be a huge mess if lots of people have dogs, especially if people don't pick up poop, and if the dogs are biting other people.  And I guess, if you look at it that way, it sort of makes sense to have some rules.  But if people have small dogs, it seems like they could have two of them in an apartment, and that wouldn't be a problem, and the dogs wouldn't get so lonely while their people were away at work.

Also Mom and I wonder if there will be enough homes for all the dogs and puppies that people have to give up if they follow the rules.  Because if there aren't enough homes, then what will happen to those dogs?  Well, actually, I think we can figure that out, but I don't want to think about it.

I'm just glad we don't have a one-dog policy in Kansas City, because if we did, Mom would have to find new homes for my brothers, because I'm sure that I'm the one dog Mom would most want to keep!


  1. Ugh...that's NOT the nicest or most cheerful way to start a comment but today's blog upset me. Don't misunderstand, I'm pleased you wrote about it, but I'm also wondering what happens to the dogs w/o a new home? I shouldn't be surprised, if a country can determine the number of children a family can have...determining the number of pets would fall right in with that type of thinking. grrrrr
    Love, AP

  2. It's sad, but China does not always have a nice history with dogs. When I was doing my research on the one-dog policy, I found out that back in 2006, when a whole bunch of Chinese people got rabies, there was a big "cull" of dogs, and thousands of them were killed. I saw some very icky pictures, so I stopped reading about that topic! But at least there are shelters now that will try to find homes for the dogs, and maybe people who live outside the city can adopt some of them. I am just trying to be cheerful about this, if that is possible!
    Love, Piper

  3. Dear Piper,
    I just don't get China! They have a holiday of animals, yet they still disrespect them! What is up with that? THEY ARE CRAZY!!!!!!!!!
    YOUR (Maybe the only) #1 fan, Tas