Shenzhen strives to be a pet-friendly city

On 9 June 2023, a netizen posted online that many parks in Shenzhen prohibit visitors from bringing their dogs in, which is baffling, and it is hoped that Shenzhen’s city management can be more accommodating.

On 19 June, the Shenzhen Park Management Centre replied:

“In accordance with the current Shenzhen Dog Breeding Management Ordinance and to better protect the safety of visitors, it is prohibited to bring dogs into parks.

In recent years, with the increasing number of dog owners in the city, there has been an increasing demand for outdoor activity areas for dogs. To meet the public’s demand for walking their pets, the Centre has been actively promoting the construction of pet parks and shared spaces for pets to build a harmonious living environment for people and dogs. At present, there are 11 open pet parks in the city, one in each district, and we have also started work on upgrading the facilities of pet parks. The next step is to promote the construction of pet-friendly activity spaces, relying on urban green areas, street-side green areas or community parks where available, to build pet-friendly activity spaces according to local conditions, so as to meet the needs of more people to bring their pets for outdoor activities and to build a pet-friendly city.

In terms of quantity, scale and facilities, the current pet parks and shared spaces for pets are not yet able to fully meet the needs of dog owners. We will explore the possibility of constructing more pet-themed parks to meet the differentiated needs of the public, subject to extensive research and consultation with the surrounding residents in subsequent new and renovated parks.”

Note to editors:

Shenzhen, the first city in China to ban dog and cat meat, has been making progress on its journey to become an animal-friendly city.

In October 2022, when the Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Urban Management and Comprehensive Law Enforcement consulted on the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Parks Ordinance, the World Dog Alliance wrote to suggest that the city could add 12 specialised pet parks (at least one in each district) to its existing base, with the proportion of pet parks accounting for around 1% of all parks.

On 17 November, the World Dog Alliance wrote again, suggesting that “creating space for companion animals” be considered in the planning of “improving community service facilities”.

Both letters received a positive and quick response from the relevant authorities. We are honoured that our proposal has been accepted and implemented. The city of Shenzhen has been actively exploring and practising the care of companion animals, and we hope that all parties will work together to create a model and benchmark for ecological civilisation in China!