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Leash loosened on Beijing dog owners
( 2003-10-16 01:57) (Xinhua)

Beijingers find it much easier to keep pet dogs Wednesday, when a new regulation comes into effect in the Chinese capital.

Under the new regulation, the first-year registration fee for each pet dog has been cut from 5,000 yuan (604 US dollars) to 1, 000 yuan (121 US dollars), thus making it more affordable for the growing number of dog lovers.

The city began to strictly limit the number of pet dogs in 1995, when complaints over pet dogs rocketed.

However, as more local citizens are eager to have pets, the old regulation has been seriously challenged.

Statistics show there were 139,600 registered dogs in Beijing at the end of 2002, only ten percent of the actual number of pet dogs in the city.

Under the revised regulation, dog ownership no longer requires approval of government departments and is only subject to permission from neighborhood committees elected by local residents.

Although the regulation was loosened, people who take their dogs to forbidden areas or aboard public vehicles are subject to a fine of up to 500 yuan (61 US dollars) or may even be deprived of dog registration.

Owners who counterfeit dog registrations will be fined up to 5, 000 yuan (604 US dollars) and will have their dogs impounded.

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