CHINA / Regional

50,000 dogs killed for rabies prevention
(Shanghai Daily)
Updated: 2006-08-01 09:59

Dog attacks

The campaign followed a series of human and livestock deaths and injuries from dog attacks.

This year, 360 of the county's 200,000 people reportedly suffered dog bites. Five were hospitalized since July 20 alone.

Since April, three people died of rabies in the county, one a 4-year-old girl.

Two cows and three pigs were also found dead after dog attacks.

Health authorities began to vaccinate the county's canines, but as the dog attacks increased, government officials decided they needed to take more drastic action.

To ensure public safety, the county government decided to kill all dogs. They set up a task force, led by the director of the public security bureau, to take charge of the campaign.

Authorities first encouraged dog owners to kill their own pets, offering a 5 yuan incentive (62 US cents), and then sent in the task force to finish those that escaped the first-round slaughter.

The midnight raids were carried out by the task force officers.

According to Chinese media reports, several methods were used to kill the dogs, including clubbing, hanging, electrocution and drugs.

Although most villagers said they understood the necessity for campaign, others thought it was brutal - and unnecessary. About 4,000 dogs in the county had been vaccinated against rabies.

A local veterinary authority official surnamed Liang explained that only 85 percent of the vaccinations would be effective, however.

"With the aim to keep this horrible disease from people, we decided to kill the dogs," Xinhua news agency quoted Li Haibo, spokesman for the county government, as saying.

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