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Hanoi to Catch Unleashed, Stray Dogs to Combat Rabies

In an effort to reduce the risk of rabies, Hanoi will hire dogcatchers to round up unleashed and stray dogs.

According to VnExpress, Nguyen Ngoc Son, head of the city's Animal Health Department, said: "The team will be equipped with vehicles and specialized tools and patrol [the city]. Dogs infected with rabies will be put down, while healthy ones will be taken to a pound where their owners can come and collect them."

The consequences for owners, however, can be severe. Mai Thi Lan Huong, who works at Thanh Xuan District’s animal health office, told the news source that if the “owner does not come and get their dog back within 72 hours, the [animal] will be put down."

The move follows a similar announcement in September, in which Hanoi authorities proposed a ban on unleashed and unmuzzled dogs and cats on pedestrianized streets around Hoan Kiem Lake, in the hopes of making the area more appealing to tourists.

At the time, Vice Chairman of the Hoan Kiem People’s Committee Dinh Hong Phong shared that one of the most contentious problems troubling pedestrians is roaming pets. Many dog owners bring their canine companions to the area without a leash or muzzle, potentially threatening other walkers, especially small children.

Hanoi leaders also asked residents to stop eating dog and cat meat in an effort to improve Hanoi's image and avoid diseases like rabies.

It is estimated that Hanoi is home to almost 500,000 dogs and cats, as well as around 1,000 restaurants and shops which sell their meat.

Rabies killed 67 people in Vietnam in the first nine months this year, according to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.

[Photo via Wikipedia]

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