HCMC neighborhood driven mad by household with 100 dogs

By Dinh Van   March 27, 2024 | 03:22 pm PT
HCMC neighborhood driven mad by household with 100 dogs
A herd of dogs at a house in HCMC's District 4. Photo by VnExpress/Van Tuan
Over 50 families in HCMC's District 4 have had enough with the noise and the stench from 100 dogs raised by a family for many years, and are asking authorities for help.

"Even after I've shut the doors and windows tight, the smell of animal waste still invades the house, making our family suffer over a long period of time," said Nguyen Kha Ai, 50, who lives in a three-story house in Ward 9.

Ai said that dozens of years prior, his neighbor only raised a few dogs, but then decided to adopt more.

Now, the neighbor's 26 m2 house has nearly 100 dogs. At noon and at night, when strangers pass, the dogs bark loudly, waking Ai's family up. Many people wanted to come to the area to rent a place to sell food, but do not stay long due to the stench coming from the dogs.

People in the neighborhood have visited the family to give them a piece of their mind, but they did not cooperate. In early 2021, 50 families together lodged a complaint to authorities, but the problem still has not been dealt with.

"I love animals, but raising an entire herd of dogs and affecting others is not fine," Ai said.

Vo Kim Anh Phuong, chairwoman of the Ward 9 People’s Committee, said the family raised the dogs on their own without informing authorities about it.

After several rounds of discussions, in March 2023, the family was fined VND64 million ($2,500) for environmental pollution. However, authorities later rescinded the decision due to insufficient legal basis.

On the number of dogs being raised, Phuong said there has not been any policy about it, so the ward could not force the family to keep fewer dogs.

"When authorities come down to check, the smell and the noise can be seen and heard seeping into the environment, but the issue cannot be dealt with due to legal wrangling," Phuong said.

The people of Ward 9 are not alone. Several people in HCMC have been complaining about their neighbors raising dogs and cats. The city currently has around 106,000 families raising 184,000 dogs and cats, with 65% of the pets being raised in downtown districts.

A representative of the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said a lack of policies meant most pet owners raised their pets without informing authorities.

Certain families also raise a large number of pets while operating the place as pet shelters to seek sponsorship, affecting people around them.

Le Dang Thang, deputy chairman of the Dong Hung Thuan Ward in District 12, said the area had a family raising over 20 dogs, resulting in noise and stench. Neighbors have tried to persuade them to keep fewer dogs and keep things hygienic, but they have not been cooperative.

Thang said owners could keep the pets quiet when authorities come to check for noise levels, while there have not been concrete policies on how a stench should be considered unpleasant enough to warrant a fine.

There are also no policies to limit the number of pets a family can keep, as long as they are fully vaccinated.

The agriculture department is now building temporary regulations for pet management, which would take into account the number of pets in a household and require the pets to be registered.

Thang said a limit on the number of pets can be five pets per an apartment, or even fewer.

Nguyen Huu Thiet, deputy head of the HCMC Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sub-department, said the unit was gathering opinions to see if there should be a limit on how many pets are allowed to be raised in a neighborhood.

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