Officials in Jiangmen, China, are banning residents from keeping dogs, in a move that will take effect at the end of August, according to Chinese media. In one week, owners can begin taking their dogs to drop-off centers, where they will be either adopted by residents of rural areas or euthanized.
The ban targets dogs in densely populated sections of Jiangmen, a city with a population of 3.8 million. Any owners who wish to keep their dogs must apply for a license, reports China Daily.
But it seems that only people who plan to use their dogs to provide security for valuable warehouses or businesses will be granted licenses.
Britain's Daily Mail, citing the Chinese-language newspaper The Jiangmen Daily, reports that "42 residents had died from rabies in the past three years."
The Shanghaiist blog predicts that with the city government's official Notice on Strengthening the Management of Dogs, "we're expecting scores of tearful farewells in the coming weeks."
The story echoes a similar anti-dog incident from 2009, in which fears of rabies led Chinese officials to sanction the killing of dogs in the streets of Hanzhong — apparently going so far as to offer payment for each death.
In Jiangmen, an official explained the new dog ban to China Daily:
"Our aim is not to kill all the dogs in the city's urban areas, but we hope to create a better environment for the city by banning the keeping of dogs," said a police officer, who did not want to be named, on Tuesday.
"And we hope dog owners and residents can understand and cooperate with law enforcement personnel," he added.
That seems like a tough argument to make to dog owners — and at least one resident of the city wasn't swayed:
"That is not fair to the city's dog owners and does not respect life," said Wang Chengzhi, a Jiangmen resident.
"The appropriate departments should introduce detailed regulations to guide residents in keeping dogs and grant them certificates, instead of simply banning dogs," he added.