canine crackdown, rejecting online reports which accused officers of beating and torturing dogs to death on the street.he Zhejiang capital of Hangzhou has declared that no dogs have been hurt during its recent
On Thursday, the city’s new ultra-strict pet regulations came into effect. That day, videos began appearing on Chinese social media seeming to show chengguan, China’s hated public security officers, capturing, beating and even drowning stray dogs.
The extremely brutal clips caused an uproar online with some Chinese netizens voicing their support for the harsh measures as necessary for public safety and others questioning how Hangzhou could ever again call itself a cosmopolitan world city.
However, on Saturday, Hangzhou’s urban management department stepped into the fray, issuing a statement claiming that those men shown in the viral clips were not members of its department and that no dogs had been beaten or tortured during the campaign in Hangzhou.
While some have declared this a lie, China already does have a wealth of stock footage of chengguan beating dogs, so it’s certainly possible that what the department says is true. For instance, one of the most shocking clips, showing a man beating a dog to death with a shovel as two men in uniform watch and hold the animal to the ground has been proven to actually feature neighborhood security guards beating a dog that is said to have attacked residents in Hangzhou’s Xiaoshan district.
Law enforcement officials in Hangzhou are hunting stray dogs, which are very cruel.
Hangzhou government said they won’t kill dogs like this but they actually did it.@MoveTheWorld @MoveTheWorldUK @worldanimalday @WorldAnimalNews #dog #hangzhou #pet pic.twitter.com/9VzRjwNSHf
— emma7900 (@emma79001) November 13, 2018
Hangzhou’s new pet regulations include banning dog walking from 7 am in the morning until 7 pm at night. When walking their dogs, owners are ordered to quickly clean up after their pets and stay away from any public spaces, such as parks or markets. Obviously, leashes are also required.
Those who violate any of these rules can be fined up to 1,000 yuan ($144) and have their dog license revoked. The penalties are even harsher for those caught with unregistered dogs. They can be fined as much as 10,000 yuan ($1,440) and also have their pets taken away. In addition, officials have completely banned 34 types of dogs including bulldogs and greyhounds. If residents are found with any of these breeds, the dogs will be seized. In some cases, the seized dogs may be killed, according to the regulations.
Meanwhile, dog owners have also complained that Hangzhou has made the process of registering their dogs far more convoluted and expensive than it needs to be — with more than 10 documents needed along with a 1,000 yuan application fee.
The incident that inspired all of these new rules occurred on November 2nd when a mother in Hangzhou was taking her two children for a walk. On the street, a small unleashed dog started to harass her son and the woman shooed it away with a kick, resulting in the dog owner running over and beating her up on the street in front of her kids.
In the wake of the urban management department’s denial, supporters of more strict pet laws have accused dog lovers (who they refer to as “dog slaves”) of attempting to sway public opinion by circulating old videos of dog beatings without any context. In response, a number of clips showing pedestrians and children being attacked by dogs have also gone viral over the weekend.
Stray dog culls and harsh pet restrictions are nothing new in China and while they may seem cruel and inhumane to Western observers these kinds of policies do often have public support with people growing tired of all-too-frequent urban dog attacks and favoring a heavy-handed approach to the problem.
Despite all of the negative attention, it actually seems likely that more and more cities will soon begin to follow Hangzhou’s lead when it comes to dogs. Already, the Shandong capital of Jinan has implemented a social credit score system for dog owners, while the Yunnan city of Wenshan has placed an even more extreme ban on dog walking between the hours of 7 am and 10 pm.
Things are probably only going to get more ruff from here on out.