The Chinese communist government instituted a one-child-per-family policy several years ago to control overpopulation in its country. Now the capital city of Beijing has decreed a one-dog-per-household policy. “Violators will be punished.”

In a city of 12 million, there are an estimated 1 million dogs. Rabies is the nation’s top infectious disease killer, ahead of tuberculosis and AIDS. Rules are strict. One dog per household; walking or pooping in parks and public areas are forbidden. And any animal with a shoulder height above 14 inches is banned. House-to-house searches have begun; informants are being rewarded by police hotlines.

My gosh, it sounds like an apartment building in Manhattan or a gated community in Scottsdale! This dog control policy reminds us how much of our freedoms we take for granted.

China is still a Third World country. For all the publicity we hear and read about the booming Chinese economy, it is still a communist dictatorship like North Korea and Cuba.

But their dogs? We dog lovers know the strength of the bond that can exist. It transcends age, gender, race, political parties, wealth, social status and even whether or not you deserve a dog! What should we, who have 65 million dogs, do? (We have such an overabundance that dog pounds euthanize thousands and thousands of unwanted dogs a year.)


Do we, who can’t take care of all our own dogs, have a right to join the protest? Should animal rights groups raise money to adopt Chinese puppies? Should Hollywood stars take up the cause? Should “Vets Without Borders” go on a mission to Beijing and offer free spay clinics? Or should we mind our own business and turn our heads like we did when the Chinese instituted the one-child-per-family policy, stomped out democracy in Tiananmen Square and stole our government’s technology secrets in the 1990s?

Some of the smartest graduate students in our universities are Chinese. Freedom cannot help but rub off on them. Someday they will go back home and be part of the 21st Century China. Maybe in 50 years the benefits of having big dogs, and lots of them, will be carried back to their homeland.

Or maybe, in 50 years America will have similar pet ownership restrictions to go along with our laws against smoking, getting fat, eating horses, driving SUVs, selling hot coffee, high salaries for CEOs, farm-raised salmon, feedlots, cutting timber, drilling for oil and praying in public.

Whoa! I’m getting ahead of myself. That could never happen in America. We love our dogs too much, don’t we? PD