Ti­betan mas­tiffs be­ing aban­doned

No. of stray dogs rises sharply, cre­at­ing safety prob­lems

Global Times US Edition - - CHINA - By Liu Xin

Thou­sands of Ti­betan mas­tiffs have been aban­doned due to a de­cline in their price in North­west China’s Qing­hai Prov­ince and South­west China’s Ti­bet Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion, threat­en­ing lo­cal res­i­dents’ safety and cre­at­ing chal­lenges for lo­cal an­i­mal shel­ters to ac­com­mo­date them.

Breed­ers who wanted to make a for­tune in the Ti­betan mas­tiff mar­ket aban­doned their dogs, which left thou­sands of dogs wan­der­ing around tem­ples and vil­lages, at­tack­ing peo­ple and killing live­stock, a WeChat pub­lic ac­count “shenyidu” of the Bei­jing Youth Daily, re­ported on Wed­nes­day.

Ti­betan mas­tiff as well as its hy­brid have lost pop­u­lar­ity as more cities have banned large breed dogs, Jiang Hong, head of a Xi’an-based an­i­mal pro­tec­tion group who has paid at­ten­tion to the home­less dogs in Ti­bet and Qing­hai since 2012, told the Global Times.

Many cities, in­clud­ing Bei­jing and Shang­hai, have banned cit­i­zens from hav­ing dogs with the height of 35 cen­time­ters or above.

An anony­mous Bei­jing­based dog seller told the Global Times on Wed­nes­day that the price of Ti­betan mas­tiff has dropped sharply re­cently.

“A dog [Ti­betan mas­tiff] with ex­cel­lent ap­pear­ance could be sold at 3 mil­lion yuan ($457,700) at the peak time. But the av­er­age price now is be­tween 3,000 yuan and 30,000 yuan,” she said.

Sta­tis­tics from a Qing­haibased en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion or­ga­ni­za­tion showed that the num­ber of home­less ca- nines has in­creased sharply in 2013 when the Ti­betan mas­tiff lost its mar­ket value.

“The sharp de­cline in the price is one rea­son be­hind the rise in home­less Ti­betan dogs, and the other is their strong fer­til­ity. Some lo­cal gov­ern­ments built a shel­ter to cage thou­sands of Ti­betan dogs but af­ter a few months, the num­ber of dogs in­creased,” Jiang said.

Th­ese Ti­betan dogs would threaten lo­cal res­i­dents’ safety as th­ese dogs have not been vac­ci­nated and they would also at­tack other an­i­mals in the ar­eas, in­clud­ing snow leop­ard, which has been listed as a pro­tected an­i­mal, Jiang said.

Data from the Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion in Ti­bet showed that an av­er­age of 180 peo­ple have been at­tacked by home­less dogs per month, read the re­port of “shenyidu.” And sta­tis­tics from Lhasa, cap­i­tal of Ti­bet, showed that the to­tal num­ber of home­less dogs in the city reached 13,000 in 2015.

The lo­cal gov­ern­ment in Yushu Ti­betan Au­ton­o­mous Pre­fec­ture in Qing­hai and a tem­ple jointly spent 400,000 yuan on build­ing a shel­ter for 1,200 home­less Ti­betan dogs, and con­ducted ster­il­iz­ing oper­a­tion on all fe­male dogs to pre­vent fer­til­ity, said the “shenyidu” re­port.

Dog shel­ters in th­ese re­gions face fi­nan­cial and man­age­ment dif­fi­cul­ties since it costs much to raise Ti­betan dogs, Jiang said, adding that lo­cal gov­ern­ments and an­i­mal pro­tec­tion or­ga­ni­za­tions should join hands in deal­ing with the is­sue, in­clud­ing dis­cussing the pos­si­bil­ity of mercy killing of the un­tamed dogs.

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