The outlash following a 'no' leash incident
  ·  2023-10-30  ·   Source: NO.44 NOVEMBER 2, 2023

In mid-October, a 2-year-old girl was mauled by a Rottweiler in Chongzhou, Sichuan Province. She suffered multiple injuries, including a damaged kidney and broken ribs, and at the time of writing remained hospitalized for further medical treatment. The dog's owner has been put under criminal investigation.

Notably, in order to prevent similar tragedies, local authorities in several places have since tightened related law enforcement. In certain instances, stray dogs on the streets were caught and killed, raising concerns over the legitimacy of the moves, with many saying they seem cruel.

Liu Liu (Yangzi Evening News): Chinese laws prohibit dangerous dog breeds in cities, but some owners continue to turn a blind eye to warnings about their dogs' aggression. They do not keep their dogs on leashes or muzzled when walking them in the streets, putting passersby at risk. Of course, stray dogs can also pose a potential threat to people.

Besides owners' indifference, light punishment is responsible for frequent accidents. Usually, the owner is only civilly liable for compensation, not criminally liable, when their dog attacks people. Only if the victim is severely injured, or killed, will the owner be criminally liable. As a result, many dog owners do not take accidents seriously.

As far as this accident in Chongzhou is concerned, the owner needs to be severely punished to serve as a deterrent to other dog owners. Why is it that there are so many cases of dogs attacking people? Basically, the owners are to blame.

Wang Xinyi ( Regulating dog ownership is not the same as killing stray dogs. The problem will not be fundamentally solved by such a rude and lazy way of dealing with the increasing number of dogs in cities. Most of the stray dogs have been abandoned by their once loving owners. They are left to roam the streets and beg for food, and most appear shy and gentle.

Dangerous dogs need to be dealt with and, more importantly, their owners need to be held accountable. Why is the problem still there after so many years and so much dog killing? The answer does not lie with the dogs, but with the people—the dog owners. Dog owners who do not keep their dogs on a leash when walking in the streets or who abandon their dogs at will must be punished accordingly.

It's inhumane to kill strays because one pet dog mauled a toddler. The authorities, together with charity organizations, should provide as many shelters as possible to reduce the number of stray dogs. In addition, residents should be encouraged to adopt such dogs if their living conditions allow it.

Li Hongbo ( Dogs are becoming an integral part of urban neighborhoods as they help to combat loneliness. How to achieve peaceful coexistence between dogs and city dwellers is an issue that both authorities and residents need to consider.

Residents are, of course, free to keep dogs, but only on condition that their pets do not interfere with other people's rights, especially their right to a safe and clean environment. For their part, those who do not own pets should show understanding for the needs of pet owners and respect their lifestyle. We should approach pet controversies with reason and not allow them to divide society.

Given China has several well-established laws regulating pets, the key is to enforce them effectively. Law enforcement agencies should ensure that pet owners comply with legal registration and vaccination requirements, that pets are not abused or abandoned, and that measures are taken to prevent pets from attacking people. 

Copyedited by Elsbeth van Paridon

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