North China tourist city bans large dogs
A display inside the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses, on the outskirts of Xi'an (Reuters)
A popular tourist city in northern China says it will ban residents from keeping large dogs such as German shepherds in its downtown core.
The city of Xi'an in Shaanxi province said in a statement posted on its website late Tuesday that the ban will start February 1. The city has three ring roads, and large dogs will be banned in all areas inside the third ring road. They'll also be banned from some places outside the third ring road.
The official Xinhua News Agency said 34 types of dogs would be banned, including violent dogs such as pit bulls.
Xi'an is known for the terracotta warriors - thousands of life-sized clay figures that are one of the most significant archaeological finds of the 20th century.
Although the statement did not give a reason for the ban, other cities in China have tightened rules on dog ownership and sizes because of worries about rabies, concerns about health issues and problems with wild dogs.
The statement said that beginning February 1, residents will be banned from "keeping fierce or large dogs inside the third ring road, and from residential areas, government and company grounds, schools, kindergartens, hospitals, scenic and historical spots outside the third ring road".
Pet ownership in China was once rare because the Communist Party condemned it as bourgeois and most people couldn't afford to own cats or dogs. Now it is booming, especially in the bigger cities.
Xinhua said large dogs were defined as those dog species with a shoulder height of more than 30cm.
In May last year, Shanghai imposed restrictions on dog ownership, setting a limit of one dog per family in an effort to gain control over a soaring pet population and curb rabies.