All You Need to Know About Dog Licensing and Law Enforcement
The recent report of a dog beaten to death by a group of men presenting themselves as chengguan (City Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement) officials has generated a lot of fear among dog owners in the community.
While no one doubts that this event occurred, what is now being called into question is the identity of the perpetrators of this cruel act. In interviews with the Public Security Bureau, the officers we spoke with were deeply shocked to hear of the extreme measure taken against the dog and his owner for failing to produce a dog license in Sihui. The Public Security Bureau protocol is to bring the unlicensed dog to the police station, or pai chu suo, for holding while the owner retrieves the dog license to bring to the police station. Or, the owner can pay the licensing fee at the police station if the dog is not yet licensed.
The police officers also stressed that chengguan are not responsible for the enforcement of dog registration regulations and had no authority to confiscate or beat unlicensed dogs. Representatives from the Beijing Municipal Chengguang Bureau, with whom we spoke, confirmed this as well. The police officers also noted that the dog-beating incident in Sihui took place on May 24, before any official crackdowns on unlicensed dogs had even begun.
The official dog registration period for renewing licenses of already licensed dogs is May 1 to June 30 each year. Dogs that are applying for their licenses for the first time may do so at any time during the year. All dog licenses expire on April 30 every year, regardless of the date on which you initially registered.
The Public Security Bureau emphasized that owners should always carry their dog licenses with them when out walking their dogs. Should a Public Security or other official approach you about your dog, make note of his or her badge number or ID number on the uniform. You may call the hotline numbers for the Beijing Public Security Bureau and Chengguan Bureau to speak to supervising officers:
Beijing Public Security Bureau: 110 (Chinese & English)
Beijing Chengguang Bureau: 96310 (Chinese)
If you are a foreign national and wish to make a report to the Public Security Bureau, inform the staff of your local pai chu suo that you are a foreign citizen and request the assistance of the Entry-Exit Administration as this is the government bureau charged with supervising all matters related to foreigners in China.
To help you with registering your dogs, here are answers to the most common questions from dog owners.
Q: This is my first time registering my dog. Where do I go to register my dog and what do I need to bring?
A: Dogs are registered at the same local Public Security Bureau /pai chu suo/ where you are registered as a foreign national or local citizen living in Beijing. Dog owners need to take the following items to their local Public Security Bureau (pai chu suo) to register their dogs:
- The dog (if this is the first time you are applying for a dog license)
- Two, one-inch photos of your dog (head shot from the front with white background)
- Your passport or shenfenzheng ID card
- Your lease agreement or property deed, if you own your home
- For foreign nationals, your Registration Form of Temporary Residence or your Household Registration Certificate (hukou) for local citizens
- An approval certificate from your compound management agent (wuye) or Neighborhood Watch Committee (juweihui)
- RMB 1,000 for the initial registration fee if you live in one of the eight key administrative districts of Chaoyang, Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chongwen, Xuanwu, Haidian, Fengtai, and Shijingshan. Fees may be lower outside of these districts
- RMB 500 for the annual renewal fee if you live in one of the eight key districts above
Q: Do I need to prove my dog has been rabies vaccinated to apply for the initial dog license?
A: No. The PSB assumes that you will pay the licensing fee and then take the payment fapiao and your dog to an officially designated animal vaccination hospital for the rabies vaccination. Legally registered dogs may enjoy a free annual rabies vaccination each year if they present their fapiao and dog license at an officially designated animal vaccination hospital in their district.
For the safety of your dog, your family and the community, we recommend that owners get their dogs vaccinated as recommended by their veterinarians regardless of having a dog license or not. If you license our dog after the rabies vaccination, you can always enjoy the free or discounted rabies vaccination when it is time to vaccinate next year.
If you are renewing your dog license, then you must show proof of a legal rabies vaccination within the past 12 months and bring your official Beijing Animal Health and Immunity Certificate (vaccination red book). Owners will not be allowed to renew dog licenses without proof of an annual rabies vaccination.
To learn more about the official Beijing Animal Health and Immunity Certificate go here.
Q: I heard there is a discount on the licensing fee if my dog is spayed or neutered?
A: All dogs that were spayed or neutered at a legally licensed animal hospital in Beijing can receive a discount on the initial licensing fee or on the annual renewal fee. Please ask your animal hospital for your official spay/neuter certificate. Providing the spay/neuter certificate at the time of the initial registration of your dog entitles owners to a discount of up to 50 percent (RMB 500) on the RMB 1,000 licensing fee. If you are renewing your dog license, discounts of up to 40 percent are usually offered on the RMB 500 renewal fee.
Dogs that were spayed or neutered overseas are not eligible for the discount, as the spay/neuter surgery must have been performed at a legally registered animal hospital in Beijing that can issue the official spay/neuter certificate.
Q: I have a large breed dog but it is still a puppy. Can I register my large dog for a license while he is still a small-sized puppy?
A: The PSB now has lists and photos to help officers identify large breed dogs so this may not work. Furthermore, if your puppy grows to over 35cm when measured from the ground to the shoulder, your license is automatically void if licensed your dog within the eight key administrative districts.
The PSB stresses that absolutely no large dogs may be registered in these eight key districts. In addition, there is a list of 40 breeds of dogs deemed to be aggressive that are banned within the key districts.
Q: I heard I am only allowed to register one dog to my home address. I have two dogs. What do I do?
A: The "one dog per household" regulation in Beijing states that only one dog may be registered to each household address. For owners of multiple dogs, you would need to have a separate household address to register each of your additional dogs. This is perfectly legal and is the solution offered by the Public Security Bureau when asked by owners of multiple dogs. As long as the home address of your relative, friend, neighbor or colleague does not already have a dog registered to it and the property management agent or neighborhood watch committee provides their approval, you may use it to register your dog.
A free information session on "How to Register Your Dogs in Beijing & Safety Tips for Large Dog Owners" will be held at ICVS on June 21.
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Mary Peng is the Co-Founder & CEO of International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS).
Photo: Mackenzie Black (flickr)