Monday, January 16, 2006

Year Of The Dog Tragedy

BEIJING, Jan. 16 -- Although the traditional Year of the Dog in Chinese lunar calendar is still two weeks away, a dog-raising craze has spread in the city. Since last November, the price for pet dogs in Shenzhen has increased by 30 percent, and the boom is expected to last for several months.

"This Chow Chow is now worth of 3,200 yuan (US$400), while two months ago you could buy at 2,200," said Wang Zhongping, owner of a pet shop on Yanhe Road, where the city's largest dog market lies.

According to Wang, thoroughbred dogs are the most popular among buyers, including King Charles Spaniels, Pomeranians and Tibet Dogs. Many species of thoroughbred dogs have been sold out in Shenzhen.

"We have to spend a couple of months training the dogs before we can sell them. As the demand for well-bred dogs rises, stores are emptying out of their cuddly canines quickly. Another wave of dog sales is yet to come, and the prices are expected to rise," said Wang.

Dog paraphernalia is also becoming more expensive. The price of dog food has increased twice since late November, with the increase reaching 10 percent.

Dogs under 40 days old are bestsellers in Shenzhen's canine market. These pups don't require milk feeding, which makes it easier for new owners to raise them, and are much cheaper than the older dogs.

"Dogs of the same type might differ greatly in prices. For example, a nine-month Tibet Dog will cost 360,000 yuan, while a 40-day one costs only 20,000. The difference is due to the seller's costs in raising and training," said Zheng Jianfang, a dog lover.

Zheng suggested that people should buy dogs in regular pet shops, which can provide a birth certificate for each dog as per the requirement of city authorities. Such shops have invested vaccination on dogs to avoid canine madness.

She also recommended that people avoid buying fat dogs or those with long hairs.

"Fat dogs can easily contract asthma or heart disease, while dogs with longer hair can bring a lot of trouble in summer," she said. Enditem

There are so many things wrong here, it’s hard to decide where to start. First, you don’t buy a dog at 40 days old, or 9 months old from a pet store or breeder. You want them at 8 weeks old. Second, you don’t buy a dog to be part of a fad or holiday. Third, you need to consider the breed. Forth, NEVER get a dog from a pet store. Go directly to a good breeder.

This is a tragedy in the making.

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