Man's love for pets turns fourth floor into a pigsty
Updated: 2011-08-05 07:54
By Cao Yin (China Daily)
Clockwise from top: Dogs have fun with Ouyang Xiaochang, 63, at his home in Beijing on Wednesday. The unmarried man shelters more than 30 stray animals in his 40-square-meter home; Injured crows, magpies and other wild birds are among Ouyang's pets; Ouyang keeps a stray pig in his kitchen. Photos by Zhou Gangfeng / for China Daily
BEIJING - After years of complaining, residents in a community in the city eventually started asking the public for help to resolve a conflict between them and a neighbor who is a pet fanatic.
In Liangxiang township in Fangshan district, Ouyang Xiaochang, a 63-year-old man, is famous for his "animal home".
In a 40-square-meter room on the fourth floor of a building in the Xiluyuan community, Ouyang has been feeding more than 30 animals, including 11 dogs, three cats and a pig, for more than 10 years and his neighbors have suffered because of his activities.
Wang Yusen, a 50-year-old woman who lives in the same building as the pet man, said on Thursday that she can no longer bear the noisy barking and pet droppings in the corridor.
"I've lost count of the times I've negotiated with him to move those animals, but he has never done anything about it," she said with a shrug. "Who can help me?"
Wang said the old man moved to the community in 1996 and has always had a great passion for adopting stray animals.
"What the neighbors complained most about was his pig," she said. "He said the pig was a kind of pet and wouldn't grow bigger, but now it is no difference to normal adult pigs."
Four neighbors playing cards near the building echoed Wang's comments, saying the man even bought the most expensive food for the animals, especially the pig.
"I saw him walking his dogs and pig around the community, but he hardly spoke to us," said an old woman who refused to give her name. She said the man's relatives live abroad and send him money every month.
Wang took the China Daily reporter to Ouyang's home, where the corridor on the fourth floor was filled with an offensive odor.
Wang knocked on the door four times, but the only answer was loud barking.
Wang said the animal fanatic had never married and spent nearly 5,000 yuan ($780) on feeding his menagerie each month.
"He once told me he had a deep love for the pig and would only give up the pet when it died," she said.
About half an hour later, the door was still closed and the dogs had stopped barking.
An officer of the residents' committee, surnamed Wen, said the committee often received complaints from Ouyang's neighbors and helped them negotiate with the old man, but he was unwilling to move his pets to a shelter.
"We have no right to force him to get rid of the animals or leave the building, because there are no regulations against people feeding lots of pets at home," she said.
"But who wants to live in a dirty apartment? Who wants to be woken up by barking? Who wants the smell of feces coming into the room when we open our windows?"
The officer and the neighbors said that loneliness combined with the man's fondness for animals had led him to feed so many pets in his room.
"After all, he is alone and has few friends in this community, so those pets are his companies," Wang said.
Although angry, all the people interviewed showed some sympathy for Ouyang but said they hoped the relevant organizations could resolve the problem soon.
In an interview with Beijing News on Wednesday, Ouyang said he adopted the animals to protect them and that he would move them soon.
He also said he had been looking for a place to settle the animals and hoped they would eventually return to nature.
Wang Liqun, founder of a Beijing-based animal rescue organization, said Ouyang was doing a noble thing by helping so many animals, although his behavior was "abnormal".
She suggested the man should move to a remote area where he and the animals could enjoy more space.
Cang Wei contributed to this story.
(China Daily 08/05/2011 page5)