Yesterday afternoon [July 6], Mr. Yang discovered a large dog who had been abandoned by the side of the road at Chengdu's Chenghua District Shengdengxiang Donghuacun Lu. Nearby residents said that the dog had been there since the morning; some had seen a man drive by, dump the dog out, and drive off.
A worker cleaning up after the dogs at an animal shelter
This dog is one of many of the "countryside" dogs that have been abandoned recently after new regulations on the keeping of large dogs in the city went into effect on July 1. The regulations prohibit the keeping of 22 types of large dog breeds within the city boundaries.
"This month, it's clear that we're receiving these large dogs that have been abandoned, many more than we have in the past. We filled up quickly, and it's quite hard on us," explained Chen Yunlian, a spokesperson for the Shuangliu Aizhijia Animal Shelter.
Mr. Yang described the dog he spotted as "quite large," measuring around 1.2 meters long and 60 centimeters high, and "ferocious." Although he didn't know what breed it was, he said "it looked very fierce, like it would bite a person at any moment."
A nearby resident said that the dog had been there, lying on its stomach on the side of the street, since morning. Some people had tried to drive it away with sticks, but after 10 minutes, it would return.
"Maybe it was abandoned," said a resident, adding that he had never seen this dog in the neighborhood before, so it probably wasn't kept nearby.
"This month, we've taken in at least 18 abandoned dogs," said Chen Yunlian, adding that she feels the increase in the number of dogs is clearly linked to the new regulations.
"Almost every day we have people bringing dogs for us here. Most are the big dogs. The people who bring them all say that they found the dogs on the side of the road," said Chen, explaining that she reckons that more dogs than usual will keep arriving at the shelter until September 1. She plans to expand the building, but funding is still an issue.
"Since the implementation of the regulations, we've received many more calls than before," said Sichuan Qiming Animal Rescue Center spokesperson Qiao Wei. "Most people ask what they need to do in order to adopt a dog or how much it costs to raise a dog, but there hasn't been a big change in the number of people coming to adopt dogs."
Qiao Wei suggested that dog owners considering abandoning their pet should find a family to take the animal rather than bringing it to a shelter or leaving it on the side of the road. "Every employee at our center works very hard and has to take care of a lot of dogs. It's probably better for the dog to be with a family."
Chengdu business owner Lao Ma has been raising dogs for nearly 10 years. He particularly likes large dogs. A year ago, when he learned that Chengdu was considering regulations on the raising of large dog breeds within the city, he sold two of his three Tibetan Mastiffs. He still has one, but he has taken it to live at the house of a friend in the suburbs.
Lao Ma said that he frequently makes time to visit the dog. It's not as good as having the dog in his house, he says, but he can make do this way.
Lao Ma said that many of his dog-loving friends have dealt with the regulations in another way: They do not let the dog out at all during the day, and only late at night do they take them out, on a leash. Unless the dogs bother others, they guess that they won't be reported. "If they're caught, well, we'll see. They would rather be fined that get rid of their dogs," said Lao Ma.