Wednesday, 12 December 2018
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China Threatens to Take Dogs Off Owners Who Don’t Pick Up Pet’s Mess

Cities in China are rolling out a new social credit system for dog owners in which the pets can be taken away from their humans if they lose all their points.

Already active in the city of Jinan, Chinese authorities say they have seen a significant drop in complaints about dogs, and hope for the same results as other cities adopt the system, British newspaper The Telegraph reported. Under the credit program, all pet owners are required to register their animals and are only allowed one dog. Each canine has a QR code embedded on their collar and owners start out with 12 points.

These points will be deducted by police if they catch the owner leaving dog excrement on sidewalks and roadways, allowing the pooch to walk without a leash, and other infractions. Only individuals 18 years of age or older will be allowed to walk the animals in public as well. Dogs are also forbidden from playing in public fountains and riding on any public transport. They are also banned from public parks, plazas, schools, hospitals, shopping centers, gyms, hotels restaurants and markets.

GettyImages-1026075008 A dog sits next to its owner on the street in Shanghai on September 2. JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images

Although minor infractions may only see a point or two deducted and the owner slapped with a fine, repeat offenders could see as many as six points deducted in one penalty. When a dog owner loses all of the dozen points, their dog will be confiscated by authorities. However, they can take an exam and regain custody of their dog. Prior to losing all their points, owners will also be permitted to regain points by assisting at animal shelters and other community service activities.

“With proper implementation [of the system] and training, the overall quality of the dog owners will be raised,” Ms. Hu, 35, a consultant in Beijing who owns a black Labrador retriever, told The Telegraph. She pointed out that it could also reduce the risk of her dog being attacked by other dogs, as it will ensure that owners train their animals well. The consultant also believes the system can potentially reduce the amount of stray dogs, as well as the number people bitten.

State-run China Daily reported in August that 80 percent of dog owners in Jinan now use leashes, and complaints about dogs biting or barking have decreased by 65 since January 2017, when the system was first implemented in the city. About 1,430 dog owners were fined under the system, and only 122 owners lost all of their 12 points, with most getting their animals back after taking the required class.

GettyImages-840013030 In this photograph taken on August 26, 2017, Li Temiao embraces her partially paralyzed dog Danfoer as it receives acupuncture treatment with needles, known as meridians, at the Shanghai Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Neurology and Acupuncture Animal Health Centre in Shanghai. CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images

Beyond dog owners, China is moving toward a social credit system, which has been criticized by activists and rights groups. In 2014, Beijing announced that it would use data to monitor and rank the behavior of its citizens, rewarding those that score high and punishing those that score low. Under the system, the elite will gain access to better social privileges and those who rank lower will effectively become second-class citizens. The scheme is set to become mandatory for all 1.4 billion of China’s citizens by 2020.

Although Chinese leaders promote the system as a way to create a more trustworthy and harmonious society, critics say the program is a new tool to control market and political behaviors. Even online comments will be monitored, with negative remarks and speech criticizing the government resulting in a reduced score.

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The Bark Box

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