Dogs should be banned from roaming streets

By Tran Quang Linh   March 18, 2024 | 04:51 pm PT
Dogs should be banned from roaming streets
Dogs are seen gathering by the West Lake in Hanoi in 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dinh
My motorbike crashed when it hit a dog running freely down a Ho Chi Minh City street one early morning, and I had to get several stitches in my face.

The damage could have been worse if I had traveled at my normal speed.

I had seen the dog standing on the sidewalk from a far, and actively slowed down. But as I came near, the dog suddenly jumped onto the roadway, right in front of my motorbike, and I could not help but fall.

While I had to look for a hospital to treat my injuries, the dog ran away unharmed. The dog owner only peeked out from the house, probably fearing I would demand compensation.

Dogs running wild scare many people: first because they can lead to accidents, like in my case, and second because they can bite people. Recently a teacher and 13 students in the northern province of Quang Ninh had to get vaccinated against rabies after a rapid dog ran into their school and bit them.

Around 500,000 people in Vietnam have to receive rabies treatment every year, at a cost of around VND700 billion, according to official statistics. Nearly 100 people die of rabies every year. This year alone, 18 died in the first two months.

These figures should raise questions about the ways in which people raise dogs and these methods should be changed.

People who raise their dogs to guard their house leave the dogs free. Many of those who raise dogs as pets rarely put them on muzzle when going out. They argue that their dogs are very disciplined, listen to them, and have not bitten anyone.

For safety reasons, I think the best solution is to absolutely ban people from leaving their dogs free to roam the streets. If a dog is caught on the street, its owner should be punished. If the owner cannot be identified, the dog should be disposed of. Only such drastic measures can raise dog owners’ awareness about maintaining public safety.

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