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In China, dog owners have bone to pick over large-breed crackdown

Chinese police squads are reportedly sweeping through the country’s capitol city on a state-sponsored hunt for residents who harbor large-breed dogs -- like Labradors, Dalmatians and collies -- as pets.

The New York Times reports the police, bearing nets and metal snares, are confiscating the animals, which cannot be recovered and often end up in the hands of dog-meat dealers, in tune with a long-standing law prohibiting large-breed dogs within the city limits of Bejing.

“People are in a complete panic.”

- Mary Peng, chief executive of the International Center for Veterinary Services

“People are in a complete panic,” Mary Peng, chief executive of the International Center for Veterinary Services, a pet hospital in Beijing, told The Times. “My phone has not stopped ringing.”

The pet pogrom reportedly began this month, when Bejing authorities hung around town wanted posters portraying Dou Dou, a 6-year-old golden retriever emblematic of the dozens of breeds that would later be the focus of the crackdown.

“I feel like we’re living in one of those war movies in which the Communists are searching for the Japanese and threatening to wipe them out,” Dou Dou’s adoptive mother told The Times. “How can the government be so cruel?”

Since then, police, reportedly tipped off by dog-hating snitches, have undertaken untold night-time raids on the homes of large-breed dog owners, snatching pets that, in some cases, have been registered with the state.

The Times reports many Bejing dog owners have taken to walking their pets during the wee hours of the night, or enticing them to relieve themselves from high-rise balconies, so that wary police will not catch on.

“I’m not about to give up one of my dogs without putting up a fight,” Huang Feng, 30, a pet-store owner told The Times. “What’s happening is criminal.”