Dog owners were left perplexed after officials suddenly said they may only own one dog. File photo.

A hot debate on social media has erupted in the Eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou after the local government released a draft regulation that will limit each household to one dog and ban dogs from taking public transportation including buses, Global Times reported.

The draft regulation on keeping dogs was reviewed by Wenzhou legislators on Tuesday. It contains 36 articles aimed at tackling public security risks, including controls on stray and ferocious dogs, local news site wendu.cn reported.

The draft regulation states that each household in the city can only keep one dog, and large dogs and vicious dogs will not be allowed to go outside.

Dogs are also to be banned from taking public transportations, including buses and subways, the draft also said.

The topic “one dog for one family in Wenzhou” posted on Sina Weibo has been viewed more than 38 million times as of press time.

Many wondered what will happen to families already keeping more than one dog once the regulation is implemented, the report said.

“I think large dogs should be allowed outside with a muzzle, but we cannot ban them from playing outside,” another net user commented.

“Each female dog can give birth to several pups. If we can keep only one, how do we deal with others? Abandon them?” a netizen asked on Sina Weibo.

Meanwhile, there were some netizens in favor of the regulation. “I hope this draft can be passed and introduced as walking dogs has become a serious threat to public security, especially given lots of dog-bite cases involving children,” a netizen wrote.

An owner of a Border Collie, surnamed Li, who lives in Beijing, told the Global Times that guide dogs should be allowed on public transportation.

The draft regulation also said that all pet dogs must be registered with the local public security bureau.

The China Pet Products Association reported in 2018 that there are 50 million registered dogs in the country, with pet ownership growing at 15% annually.

Other cities in China have also introduced similar regulations to avoid dogs harming people. Many media reports recount horrific examples of people being attacked by stray dogs and pet dogs.

The Hubei provincial public security department said in June 2019 that citizens are banned from raising dogs taller than 45 centimeters in residential areas.

Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong Province, requires all dogs to have microchips implanted under their skin by the end of the year.

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