China: First one-child, Now one-dog

Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

GUANGZHOU, China (AP) - Residents in a Chinese city are trying to come to grips with a strict regulation on dog ownership that's set to take effect soon.

Starting July first, families will only be allowed to own one dog -- even if they currently own more than one.

It's prompting many to protest what they consider a cruel regulation.

It appears to be aimed at controling the population of stray dogs in the city of Guangzhou, once known as Canton. Guangzhou is also preparing to host the Asian Games next year, and the feeling among officials is that fewer dogs means cleaner sidewalks.

But it's forcing people with more than one dog to make a tough choice. One woman complains that she can't be expected to keep one dog and get rid of the other when they are both considered members of her family.

Similar measures were instituted in other parts of China with reports of often cruel results, including allegations of authorities sweeping through neighborhoods and beating pets to death in front of their owners.

China's one child policy was established in 1979 by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. Although, designated a "temporary measure," it continues a quarter-century after its establishment. The policy limits couples to one child. Fines, pressures to abort a pregnancy, and even forced sterilization accompanied second or subsequent pregnancies.

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