Since we are almost upon the Fourth of July holiday and turning our thoughts to flying Old Glory and celebrating our freedom I thought I would comment on an article in yesterday's local paper that was disturbing to me. Not only as a dog lover, but as a fierce lover of our American freedom and the laws that are designed to provide justice for all.
The article was titled "Dog owners howling over canine roundup" and was written by Andrew Jacobs of the New York Times. I tried to pull this up online to link to here, but was unsuccessful. This story actually is taking place in Bejing. I saw a similar headline online today, too, so this is beginning to pick up in the news. I hope it escalates because it is shameful.
During the last 10 days the Bejing authorities have been rounding up dogs, night and day. "...police have said that they are simply enforcing the long-standing ban on dogs taller than 13.7 inches in the districts that make up the heart of the city." The ordinance in question states that citizens should not be able to own large dogs because they are "large and vicious". In several cases they have pulled the dogs from tearful owners arms (not exactly a large vicious dog, is it?) in the middle of the night. Needless to say there are numerous videos circulating around the city as well as cartoons such as the one on a Chinese version of Twitter that shows a terrified dog being chased by three policemen, one of which has a canon. The caption reads, "how about catching thieves instead of little dogs?"
Here are some excerpts from the article. "Big dogs, the police contend. are incompatible with city living. 'All resistance as well as violence against enforcement will be investigated and dealt with by the police, they said'. Last week they detained a woman who described how the police had kicked to death a golden retriever in front of its owner. The police later issued a statement saying the woman admitted fabricating the account, a claim that has been met with widespread skepticism."
I can understand the ban, in a way. It is a big, crowded city with many apartments and few homes like ours with nice, fenced yards for a dog that needs exercise. But not all large (or small) dogs are vicious. The ordinance has not been enforced in some time, so people had acquired dogs without realizing that the large dog ban was still a law. From reading the article I get the feeling that these dogs are prize pets, well cared for and licensed according to the local codes. It is disconcerting to me that the police are cold heartedly seizing dogs from owners and then having such an un-budging attitude about the whole affair. Any effort to resist will be investigated....scary, right?
We complain about our government, and we do have some ridiculous laws and governmental hang ups, but thank God we have freedom from tyranny.