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Hanoi to Establish Animal Control Squads to Catch Roaming Dogs, Cats

In a city-wide campaign to curb the spread of rabies, Hanoi authorities announced that the city will form squads dedicated to snaring stray dogs.

As VnExpress reports, Hanoi recently presented its plan to eradicate rabies from 2022 to 2030. The strategy involves obligations and punishments for pet owners, as well as policies for ward and commune officials to deal with strays.

According to the master plan, Hanoi tasked 579 district, commune and township People’s Committees with establishing teams to catch stray dogs and cats. Each district will set up a holding center for caught strays; 48 hours after being informed about their pet’s captive status, the local government will deal with the animals if owners do not take responsibility.

The municipal government also requests an increase in venues where Hanoians can get the rabies vaccine and post-exposure immunoglobulin.

Moving forward, Hanoi will require owners to register their furry companions with their local People’s Committee. They must also ensure that pets are confined to private residences and are muzzled and leashed while out in public. Regular rabies vaccines are also required.

By 2030, the plan seeks to get over 90% of Hanoi's pets into the city registry, increase the rabies vaccination rate to over 90%, establish vaccination points in 100% of districts and communes, and reduce rabies deaths to zero. The World Organization reports that over 70 people in Vietnam die from rabies each year, with the vast majority of infections coming from dog bites.  

In 2017 and 2018, Hạ Đình and Khương Đình wards of Thanh Xuân District in Hanoi created their own dog-catching squads on a trial basis. The pilot reached the entire district in November 2018 and Ba Đình District in October 2020. At the time of writing, four metropolitan districts have their own teams of stray catchers.

It’s estimated that Hanoi has Vietnam’s second-largest population of dogs and cats, at over 460,000 animals, behind Nghệ An Province.

Last year, the Hội An People’s Committee signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the animal rights NGO Four Paws regarding an initiative to establish Hội An as a welcoming tourism destination that says no to the consumption of dog and cat meat and assists in the eradication of rabies.

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