China Is Doubling Down On Its ‘Oversized’ Dog Ban After A Toddler Was Mauled By A Rottweiler

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A ferocious attack by an off-leash Rottweiler on a 2-year-old girl in China has led to the arrest of two dog owners and reportedly sparked several cities to begin rounding up and killing stray dogs that don’t get adopted, several media outlets reported, sparking an online outcry from residents and a push by officials to promote “civilized” pet ownership.

A toddler was hospitalized with several dog bites, a fractured rib and a tear in her kidney last week after security camera footage shows her walking in a residential compound with her mom when a large black dog attacks the child despite her mother’s efforts to get between the two, the South China Morning Post reported.

Nearby workers managed to separate the dog with the use of a broom and a large stick, per the BBC, and the Rottweiler was eventually driven away.

Locals were able to identify the dog and another that was nearby during the attack, a white Labrador, and the owners of both were later arrested while police investigations continue, according to Shanghai Daily.

The attack has spurred Chinese officials to launch a crackdown on stray, unregistered and “oversized” dogs that has been widely criticized by owners on social media as stories of inhumane treatment toward the strays comes to light.

Cities in the Shandong, Jiangxi and Hubei provinces issued statements they would be capturing stray dogs and putting them down if they were not adopted, per the South China Morning Post, and some social media users have said online that security guards in their residential buildings have been killing strays and dumping their bodies in dumpsters.

Security guards in one case are accused of entering an office without the permission of the tenant and killing two dogs inside, while a university in Liaoning Province says it fired a security guard who killed a dog on campus and another on-campus dog-catching was caught on film before a small stray was killed for chasing a student, the BBC reported.

Officials in other provinces, like Guizhou, Sichuan and Anhui, have handed out leashes since the attack to promote responsible control of pets in public and the city of Hohhot said it would round up but not kill stray dogs, according to reports.

33%. That’s how many respondents to a poll by Chinese media outlet Jiu Pai News agreed with the culling of stray dogs across China. Another 47% of respondents said owners, not their dogs, should be punished for such attacks, according to the South China Morning Post.

Regulations on pet ownership, registration and control of animals vary from city to city in China and can be laxly enforced from one area to the next, the BBC reported. China also has no animal cruelty law that can offer protection for pets. In 2019, the Tongzhou district in Beijing banned ownership of any dogs over 14 inches tall and owners were given three days to move the dogs outside of the region or they would be seized, according to the South China Morning Post. The tourist city of Xi’an in northern China has banned residents from keeping 34 types of dogs, like pit bulls and German shepherds, since 2012. The BBC reports there are some 40 million stray dogs in the country.

“A one-size-fits-all measure can only create more conflict,” Du Yufeng, founder of the Guangyuan Boai Animal Protection Center in Sichuan, told the South China Morning Post.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in September said the government would take steps to ban American Bully XL dogs after an 11-year-old girl and two men were injured in an attack. One of the dogs broke free from its owner and attacked the child in September, months after a separate incident in which a 65-year-old grandmother was killed breaking up a fight between her two bullies. The move was criticized by animal welfare groups. The Bully XL is the fifth dog breed to be banned in the U.K.—the pit bull terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro are all banned under a law that also prohibits ownership of any dog that is “dangerously out of control.” The American Bully XL is one of four pedigreed breeds of dogs that are considered to be “pit bulls,” along with the American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier and Staffordshire bull terrier.

Home and rental insurance companies have increasingly restricted policies to the owners of dog breeds they consider an exceptional liability. The most commonly banned breeds are the Doberman pinscher, pit bull and Rottweiler—which are banned by 100% of insurance companies that keep such a list—followed by the chow chow, Presa Canario, Akita, German shepherd, husky and mastiff.

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