In China's Shangdong province, authorities have imposed dog licences on all canine owners similar to that of a driving permit. Disobey the rules too often, and you could lose your licence and your dog!

In far east China, Shangdong's capital city Jinan has taken strong measures against unseemly behaviours of both dog owners and dogs.

With the number of the pets increasing throughout the city, a new dog licence system has been implemented in a bid to improve responsible pet ownership and lower disturbance complaints.

Compulsory dog licences

All owners are required to register their dog. Much like driving licences around the world, dog owners are then issued with a dog licence that carries 12 demerit points. Maintaining those 12 points is then up to each pet parent, which can be lost through irresponsible pet and owner behaviour.

Dog owners who lose all 12 demerit points have their dog taken away from them until they pass a responsible pet ownership test.

Point system

The strict rules mean demerit points can be deducted in a variety of ways.

For example, taking your dog out of the house without a leash, or taking them off the leash whilst out attracts a fine of around 200-500 yuan (about £22-£55) as well as three demerit points. A repeat offence attracts six demerit points. The leash must also not exceed 1.5m. However, failing to renew your licence on time results in a loss of all 12 demerit points and confiscation of the dog.

Other punishable offences include not cleaning up after your dog, excessive barking, swimming in fountains, travelling on public transport, entering restaurants and public buildings, and visiting parks not reserved for dogs.

In addition, some big dog breeds are not allowed in certain areas, while minors are not allowed to walk dogs. An adult, 18+, must take care of the animal and be able to show the official licence papers for the dog to the authorities.

Effectiveness

Since the new licence system came into effect at the beginning of 2017, more than 1,400 dog owners have been penalised. 120 of those lost all 12 points and had their dog confiscated. As at the end of October, 12 dogs were still under the care of authorities, awaiting their owners to pass the responsible pet ownership test.

A drop in dog disturbance complaints also fell a staggering 65% compared to the previous year, while complaints about unleashed dogs fell 43% over the same period.

The programme has been so successful that other cities across China are calling for similar measures to be implemented locally. Separately, cities such as Qingdao only allow one dog per person, while certain breeds have been banned altogether. Other cities are said to be following suit with a nationwide system believed to be rolled out by 2022.

What do you think about this new 12-point licence system for dog owners?

Source: South China Morning Post

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