Shanghai announces 'one-dog policy'

Dog, in booties, Beijing Jan 2011 Once banned by for being a 'bourgeois decadence', keeping a pet dog is now seen as trendy

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The city of Shanghai - which already follows China's one-child policy - has announced a new rule for households.

From May a one-dog policy will be introduced, and more than 600,000 unlicensed dogs will be declared illegal.

The new regulation has been the subject of long and heated debate among the city's lawmakers.

Last year more than 140,000 people told police they had been bitten by an unlicensed dog.

There are four times as many dogs without the proper paperwork in Shanghai as there are animals with a permit.

Pooch permits

The new rule means owners whose dogs are not registered with the authorities will have to give them away.

Those who already have two licensed dogs will be able to keep them, but only new applications from households without hounds will be accepted.

Of course, this being China, people will no doubt find a way to get around the rules.

When restrictions on the numbers of homes families could own here were introduced to try to slow the rise in house prices, there were reports of couples getting divorced but still living together just so they could buy more properties.

The police say they are expecting they will have to adopt many of the dogs once they are declared outlaws.

They are also banning the keeping of what they call "attack dogs".

British bulldogs are among those that will not be welcome here under the new rules.

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