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Increase of pets population calls for tighter leash

CRI, July 30, 2014 Adjust font size:

China's pets population is fast catching up with the country's ever-increasing urban households.

A cartoon showing the pet-loving urbanite and their lifestyle's potential to affect space politics in cities. [Photo: Baidu]

There is no dog or cat census data available in this country, but there is hardly a place in any Chinese city where one cannot find a pet or its not so desirable daily-leavings.

Stray cats and dogs have been a problem for quite some time.

As the country was not fully prepared to deal with this onslaught of homeless animals, it was common to see reports of mass slaughter of stray dogs in Chinese media just a few years ago.

Such brutal means to deal with the overpopulation of household-watching pets is believed to be still in practice in some rural areas, where lack of basic sterilization medics means dogs and cats could sometimes outnumber humans and become a real economic and sanitation problem.

In urban areas, the headache is no less acutely felt.The urban Chinese population mostly live in match-box kind of high-rise apartments.

The scarcity of space often means one family's dog relieves itself on another family's threshold, or as a popular protest slogan puts it, "keep your dog from pissing on my tyres."

A lack of individual self-discipline is certainly to blame, as most pet-keepers seem to be indifferent to their neighbors' sensitivity.

But given the basic characteristics of Chinese urban citizens, among whom a large number of them are newly-arrived rural migrants who rarely realized the space politics in cities, there have been calls to address the problem through government regulation.

Those people argue that there should be basic requirements on who is eligible to keep a pet and how he should keep it.

Unlike some western cities, where independent town houses are the standard living space, Chinese pet owners do have the need to think about how their pet-loving lifestyle might affect those living close by and how to avoid their personal indulgence becoming a headache for others.

There is also an urgent need to educate the public on animal wellfare.

Despite the harrassments one might have experienced of pets, it's ultmately humans who are responsible for the well-being of the voiceless.

In addition to take care of one's own pets, actions like adopting an animal from a homeless sanctuary or giving food and shelter to street dogs should be considered commendable.

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