"It is the year of the dog in China, but it's not a good year for man's best friend: An effort to stamp out rabies has prompted authorities to limit families in Beijing to only one dog," according to an article in The Oregonian on Nov. 8, written by Scott McDonald.
Beyond the one dog policy, dangerous and large dogs have been banned.
Anyone keeping an unlicensed dog will face prosecution. Tens of thousands of dogs have been killed to fight that dreaded disease of rabies.
Rabies is on the rise in China where only 3 percent of dogs are vaccinated against the disease -- 318 people died from rabies in China in September alone.
There were 2,651 deaths from the disease in 2004.
In Beijing, about 69,000 people sought treatment for rabies last year, according to unofficial records.
Owners are also not allowed to bring their dogs to parks and other public places. So, why aren't more dogs vaccinated? The answer is not clear.
Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive officer of The Humane Society of the United States, said, "We believe the focus should be on rabies vaccination rather than a limitation of the number of dogs in a household.
"One thing we have learned in the United States is that large-scale vaccination programs aimed at reducing and eradicating rabies do work in large nations."
He said, that rabies is not an emerging disease but one of the best-known zoonotic disease issues that exists.
Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said the one dog policy might prevent people from acquiring more dogs than they can handle. Restricting people to only one dog might stop impulse acquisition, encourage better care and reduce the numbers that are suffering on the streets, she continued, and added that people in China who have more than one dog should be allowed to keep them. But such is not the case.
When the new rule took effect, several mass slaughters took place. In one county where three people had died of rabies, authorities killed 50,000 dogs, many of them beaten to death in front of their owners.
China has never been a country that cherished dogs as companions and helpers as in other countries. Dog meat is eaten throughout the country and revered as a tonic in winter and a restorer of virility in men. Urban Chinese people are restricted on the size of their pets and also pay steep registration fees.
Rabies vaccinations are so readily available in this country and around the world and save the lives of countless animals and people.
Low cost clinics allow multiple dog owners to get their pets vaccinated at a reasonable cost. But certainly an annual visit to your veterinarian will ensure that your pets are current on rabies and other needed immunizations.
It is one of the most important things you can do for your pets.
In case of an animal bite from a dog that might be rabid, the painful series of injections must begin immediately to eject the disease from the body. Rabies almost always kills humans and animals after the development of symptoms.
After the onset of symptoms, death usually comes within ten days for an animal. And it is a torturous death.
You would think it would be more cost-effective to provide massive rabies vaccinations in China rather than treat 69,000 people for the disease. Hopefully, they will realize that.
We are fortunate to live in this country where our government will not tell us how many animals, or children, we are allowed to have.
They do tell us, however, that we need to vaccinate our pets for rabies. That is for the safety of all of us.
It is always good to be sure that we can love and take care of the pets we decide to bring into our homes and provide them with needed vet care.
This should serve as a reminder to check your dog and cat's rabies records and be sure they are current.
It would be a most valuable Christmas gift.
Another vital pet owner responsibility is spaying and neutering. The Payson Humane Society makes every effort to make it easy for all of us.
The Plateau Land Mobile Clinic, associated with the Second Chance Animal Shelter in Flagstaff will be in Payson at the Bashas' parking lot on Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 13 and 14.
The cost for any pet weighing less than 60 pounds is $45. Additional fees may apply resulting from complications.
Vaccinations and other services will be available to surgery patients at additional low fees. Spay/neuter surgeries will be by appointment only. To make an appointment or for further information, call the clinic toll-free at (888) 241-9731.
You can also call the Payson Humane Society at (928) 474-5590 with any questions.
Separate from the above mobile spay/neuter clinic, the Payson Humane Society has grant money available for spay and neuter surgeries for dogs only, which is available to people who cannot afford the cost.
Call the Humane Society for information on this program.
Also, The Payson Humane Society is now closed on Wednesdays.
-- Christy Powers can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by snail mail at HC1 Box 210, Strawberry, AZ 85544.