BEIJING – Two years after lifting its longstanding one-child policy, China has now introduced a one-dog policy allowing only one canine per household.
The city of Qingdao has followed suit and many other cities of China are now putting restrictions on the number of dogs a household is allowed to have, after increasing cases have been reported of people being hurt by dogs.
Qingdao, in the eastern part of China, released new rules on Thursday that will levy fines of 2,000 yuan ($294) on people who have more than one dog, according to the Beijing News.
Under the new amendments, over 40 different kinds of ‘strong dogs’ have been banned, including “ferocious” dogs like pit bulls, Doberman pinschers and Tibetan mastiffs.
Citizens will be limited to keep only one dog with compulsory registration of the pet and payment of 400 yuan ($60) service fee for the upkeep of the animal, which will be spent on animal shelters and services for canines in the city.
People who already own more than one animal will be allowed to keep them.
Owners are required to vaccinate their dogs and provide an immunization registration card.
Those breaching the rules will have to pay a fine of 2,000 yuan (£227).
Qingdao’s new regulations follow a similar decision in Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan province. The major city introduced its one-dog policy in 2009.
Beijing’s government also restricted dangerous dogs. It called on dog owners to ‘create a harmonious society and be a civilized dog raiser.’
In 2011, a harsher version of this restriction was rolled out in the city of Jiangmen, forbidding residents from owning dogs at all. This was overturned nine days later following a backlash.
Dogs have traditionally not been seen as pets in Chinese culture, but were used to help out in hunting or in some parts in China, as sources of food.
The rise of China’s modern middle class however, led to a shift in attitude towards dogs and an increase in ownership of pet dogs – until now perhaps.
That especially makes sense in a country like China, where the one-child policy lasted more than 35 years, from 1979 to 2015. The economy boomed during that time, mainly as a result of slowed population growth, but now there is an abundance of senior citizens and too few workers to support them.