Martin Li, Luo Songsong
LOCAL residents will be subject to a maximum fine of 500 yuan (US$80) if they fail to clear the excrement of their pets in public places, according to the city’s regulation promoting civilized behavior, which is scheduled to take effect March 1.
Said to be the first of its kind in China, the regulation was approved by the standing committee of the city’s legislature Tuesday after three public consultations.
The penalty is based on the city’s current management rule on dog-rearing, according to the regulation.
“The fine is reasonable, because pet owners, who are like custodians, should be responsible for the behavior of their pets,” said Zhang Mizhe, a Nanshan resident who owns two dogs.
Meanwhile, Zhang suggested that either the city government or residential communities should install special dust bins for pet excrement to make it easy for people to dump their animals’ waste. The measure is also expected to reduce the pressure on sanitation workers.
In addition, Zhang called for the cancellation of a 300-yuan yearly pet management fee.
“The government doesn’t provide corresponding service and there is no such fee in developed countries like Japan,” said Zhang.
The regulation details fines on 10 kinds of public behavior deemed uncivilized, including spitting and littering.
A maximum fine of 200 yuan will be imposed on people who litter, spit, and throw garbage.
People who smoke in public places — including restaurants, sidewalks, train stations, and parks — will be fined up to 500 yuan. People who illegally occupy, damage or demolish public sanitation facilities will be fined up to 10,000 yuan.
“Whether the regulation can be enforced efficiently depends on the willingness of law enforcers. Initially, enforcing the regulation will require a lot of money and manpower,” said Zhao Mingxin, an associate law professor of Shenzhen University.
Zhao was involved in drafting the regulation.
“There will be a brief period of strict and intense enforcement of the regulation after it takes effect. When the regulation starts deterring and restricting residents, the enforcement will become regular,” said Zhao. Zhao said the detailed fines were determined by referring to average per capita disposable income, which is a common practice in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Public behavior deemed uncivilized
■Improper disposal of chewing gum and cigarettes.
■Littering in public places.
■Littering or trespassing on urban green land which is off-limits to residents.
■Graffitting on public property.
■Throwing garbage out of vehicles or from buildings.
■Dumping or burning waste in undesignated places.
■Failing to clear pet excrement in public places.
■Illegally occupying, damaging or demolishing public sanitation facilities.
■Smoking in nonsmoking areas.