Chinese city penalises irresponsible dog owners by taking away their dogs

Dog owners will only get their dogs back after passing a test on proper dog ownership.

Kayla Wong | October 30, 2018, 03:27 PM

If you are a dog owner in Jinan city, China, failing to leash your dog or pick up its poop while you are out may result in its confiscation.

Credit scoring system for dog owners

According to a report by Beijing Youth Daily, under a credit scoring system, dog owners first start out with 12 points.

Each count of irresponsible behaviour from dog owners will result in a deduction of three points.

Second-time offenders will have six points taken away, on top of paying a fine between RMB200 to RMB500 (S$39 to S$99), while third-time offenders will have all 12 points deducted from them.

If all 12 points are deducted within a two-year period, their dogs will be confiscated by the authorities.

Here are the sort of behaviour that can potentially separate a dog from its owner:

  • Not leashing your dog
  • Not picking up your dog's poop
  • Excessive dog barking that disturbs your neighbours

Not renewing your dog license in time results in a full 12-point deduction.

Image via Beijing Youth Daily

A total of 1430 dog owners have had their points deducted so far from 2017 to August this year, reported Beijing Youth Daily.

Of those, 122 dog owners had the full 12 points deducted, resulting in their dogs being confiscated.

Pass a test to get dog back

To get their dogs back, dog owners will have to take a course on 'responsible dog ownership' and pass a test.

The test includes both multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions, while the scope of questions range from 'how long is a dog leash' to 'how long does it take to get a dog license'.

While 110 dog owners have already retrieved their dogs, 12 owners have yet to go through the necessary procedure to get their dogs back.

It is unknown how long the dogs will be kept should the owners fail to take any action to facilitate their dogs' return.

Authorities say the measures have worked so far.

In 2017, as compared to the year before, complaints against dog owners not leashing their dogs have dropped 43 per cent while complaints against dog bites and barking have dropped 65 per cent.

Positive affirmation

The 'credit scoring system' rewards responsible dog owners too.

For instance, joining in police patrols and calling out bad behaviour from other dog owners can get you three points.

Volunteering at animal shelters can get you two points, while advocating for adoption and sharing information on proper dog ownership can get you one point.

Netizens support the system

Screenshot via Weibo

This is great!

Screenshot via Weibo

If you don't leash your dog, it's like a dog walking a dog.

Screenshot via Weibo

This is pretty good. Dogs are naturally good, they just need proper management.

Screenshot via Weibo

That's the way to go. We'll see if those dog owners who don't leash their dogs will continue to be so arrogant.

Some dog owners disapprove

Screenshot via Weibo

So in the future, people will feel safe as long as they don't go near my dog. And my dog will feel like I don't trust him... in the future, all dogs in the country can only only be brought out for walks leashed.

While some thought there should also be measures on other aspects.

Screenshot via Weibo

Those who abuse animals should be penalised too.

Chinese social credit system

The dog owner credit scoring system is separate from China's 'social credit system' which was announced in 2014, but they have similar premises.

The 'social credit system', which has already been implemented in various Chinese provinces for millions of people, rates them on their 'trustworthiness' and compliance with social norms and rules.

'Trustworthy' citizens who keep the law will be rewarded by things such as discounts on their energy bills, boosted profiles on dating sites and priority access to public housing.

'Untrustworthy' citizens, such as those who violate traffic rules, smoke in trains, failing to pay fines and spread fake information, will be discredited, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

Those with low scores have already been punished by having their flight and train travel restricted and not being able to enrol their children in schools and universities.

China aims to make the system compulsory for all citizens by the year 2020.


 Top image via rawpixel/Unsplash