Beijingers Warned to Avoid Stray Dogs After Recent Biting Sprees

By Justine Lopez, September 23, 2016

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In Beijing, stray dogs bit roughly 2,000 people over the Mid-Autumn Festival. We know. We thought the same thing. How could there have seriously been 2,000 cases of dog bites? It was only a three-day holiday, after all. 

Well, according to Chinese media, stray dogs have become increasingly problematic as of late, with numerous reports of biting sprees being committed by the city’s strays in recent months. In order to deal with the issue, the Beijing Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has officially warned residents to steer clear of stray pups during the National Day holiday (October 1-7). And those who do get bitten are encouraged to get a rabies shot. 

Yikes. 

Beijing’s stray dogs have been making headlines recently. Earlier this week, we reported that dozens of people were injured by a stray dog in a Beijing embassy area on Tuesday. At least 10 people were seen lining up to get rabies shots at a nearby disease control center following the attacks. 

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Last week, 12 people were attacked by a stray pooch near the Beijing Information Science and Technology University, South China Morning Post reports. In August, 23 reported being bitten by a dog in Chaoyang.

So, what is going on?

Some animal protection organizations in Beijing are complaining that government officials need to step up and increase efforts to control the stray dog population. They’re also suggesting that officials impose harsher punishments on pet owners who choose to abandon their dogs.  

Beijing police have long said they have insufficient resources to deal with the sheer number of stray dogs in the city. The number of dogs in Beijing has grown exponentially in recent years. It was estimated to be around 2 million in 2013. However, the true number remains unknown, as many pets are unregistered by owners. 

Many owners choose not to register their dogs because of the lofty registration fees. Dog license fees in certain parts of Beijing reach RMB1000 for the first year and RMB500 per year after that. However, the cost and the strict deadlines for registration both play a role in pet owners keeping their dogs unlicensed and therefore unvaccinated. Many speculate that this could lead to an increase in rabies among Beijing’s stray dog population. 

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