Ask any dog owner and the overwhelming majority will agree that adequate exercise for their companion animal is just as important as food and water. But in Weixin County of the Yunnan province of China, residents who are caught walking their dog in public could face deadly consequences.
The county's ban on dog walking first emerged because officials received complaints that dogs were biting children. The rule exists and operates as a three-strike system: first, dog walkers will receive a warning. For their second offense, dog walkers will receive a fine up to 200 yuan ($30 USD). And when a dog walker is charged with a third violation, their dog will be seized and killed by local authorities.
In response to backlash on social media to the three-strike rule, the county claimed that they might "reassess" their position. We need to encourage local officials to lift the ban on dog walking and prioritize education and regulation of responsible pet ownership. This could include a leash mandate in public spaces, improved pet licensing requirements, or well-regulated, safe dog parks.
A dog should never have to pay for a walk -- a fulfillment of its most basic needs -- with its life. Nor should parents have to fear for their child's safety around a domesticated animal. There is a better path forward that benefits both dogs and humans in the community.
Sign the petition today to encourage Weixin County officials to drop the ban on dog walking and instead create information campaigns and regulations that enable responsible pet ownership.