Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Nguyễn Thị Hằng, of Dịch Vọng Hậu Ward, Hà Nội’s Cầu Giấy District, said she applauded a new policy of the capital People’s Committee, allowing districts to set up teams to catch dogs without muzzles that play or walk freely in streets or public areas.
However, the uniforms of the teams should be widely publicised so that local people could distinguish the official dog catchers from those who wanted to exploit the chance to steal dogs of local residents, she added.
Another resident Đỗ Hoài Nam, of Thượng Đình Ward, Thanh Xuân District – the first district of the city has piloted a team to catch the dogs, said: “The policy is totally right and necessary.”
Dogs, especially large ones without muzzles, playing or walking in the streets or public areas were very dangerous for road users, especially, children, he said.
Nam said he hoped the policy would be implemented quickly city-wide to raise awareness for dog breeders.
Hằng and Nam are two among many who welcomed the team’s operation.
Thanh Xuân District becomes the first district of the city to deploy several teams since November after the People’s Committee gave the green light to every district to set up dog-catching teams following a recent proposal of the city’s Department of Health Animal, the Lao động (Labour) newspaper reported.
The pilot is scheduled to last until the end of this month. Then the team’s activities would be assessed before being officially implemented city-wide early next year.
According to a representative of the department, the proposal aims to prevent rabies as well as raise dog breeders’ awareness in the city.
Mai Thị Lan Hương, head of the district’s animal health station, said each team has five members, driving motorbikes along streets, carrying iron cages and tools to catch dogs.
However, the teams had yet to be provided with specialised vehicles, she said. If the programme was officially launched, the station would ask the district to equip vehicles for them.
Phạm Văn Bình, a member of Hạ Đình Ward’s team, said when the team patrol the streets, a police officer from the ward would go with them.
Nguyễn Thị Hà Phương, vice chairwoman of the People’s Committee of Khương Đình Ward, said the ward informed local residents about the team before it was set up. All members of the team had been vaccinated against rabies.
Dog owners’ reaction
An owner of a miniature Pinscher showed his surprise when his dog was caught early morning last week, when the dog was walking without muzzle in an alley of Khương Đình District.
Lê Bá Mão, head of the team, explained to the dog owner that the team was implementing the pilot programme under the city’s policy. If the dog owner wanted to get their pet back, he had to come to the ward’s station then pay a fine.
The man at first showed his annoyance but finally agreed.
Nguyễn Thuỳ Dung, an animal health staff of the ward’s animal health station, who co-operated with the team in checking the dogs’ health, said at first, dog owners had strongly reacted with the team, later they accepted to pay the fine and committed to not violate the regulations after understanding the issue.
The number of dogs caught by the team has also been reduced day after day, she said.
Dogs found with rabies would be destroyed; others would be kept at a local animal health station until their owners came to bring them home, they would receive a fine, said the representative from Thanh Xuân District’s animal health department.
Previously, the Government issued the Decree No 90/2017/NĐ-CP in July 2017, saying that owners of dogs without muzzles playing or walking in public areas will receive a fine of VNĐ600,000-800,000 (US$26-34). The same fine will be applied for owners of dogs with no rabies vaccination.
Under the article 295, of the 2017 Penal Code, owner of dogs without muzzles, which bite people at public areas causing serious injuries will face a fine of VNĐ20-100 million ($860-4,300) and suffer a non-custodial reform of up to three years or face a prison sentence ranging from one to five years.
Statistics of the Hà Nội’s animal health department showed that the city now has about 493,000 dogs and cats. Some 87.5 per cent are domesticated. — VNS