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November 20, 2006

China's crackdown on dogs draws howls of protest

It might seem surprising that enforcement of a policy toward dogs would provoke a wave of public anger in China. But a crackdown on dog ownership has led to a rare street protest, angry online postings and a sense of fear and disgruntlement among throngs of dog owners. The backlash has caught authorities flat-footed as they try to explain their reasons for the restrictions. The rules, which limit households in the city and its suburbs to one dog and ban large dogs and certain breeds, have been around since 1995 but were widely ignored. Many middle-class urban Beijing residents want a greater say in how they live their lives. Many also are angry about heavy-handed police tactics in confiscating unregistered dogs.

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