Dog lovers in China and elsewhere can sleep easier tonight, after officials in Jiangmen withdrew a proposed ban on dogs in the city. The near-total ban, which would have resulted in thousands of dogs being either killed or transported to rural areas, was prompted by fears of rabies in the city of 3.8 million.
News of the ban hit media outlets in the U.S. and England Wednesday. But it seems to have been the outrage of dog fans in Jiangmen and elsewhere in China that prompted the government to reconsider the ban.
"I am tremendously happy and proud to see that public uproar from within China stopped this unethical killing. said Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. "In the past we were only able to stop some of the dog culls with international pressure."
The city had set a deadline of Aug. 26 for residents to drop off their dogs — a process that was to begin on Aug. 10. Now they'll be able to keep their dogs, but the city is still insisting on some changes.
According to China Daily, "Citizens will be able to keep their pets but are forbidden from taking them to some public areas including parks, city squares, schools, kindergartens, shopping malls and hotels etc."
Several "dog culls" similar to the one that had been planned for Jiangmen have taken place in recent years. And while it's difficult to say with certainty what motivates the mass killing of dogs, many reports claim that China lacks both a national animal welfare law and a plan to fight rabies.