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Lawmakers consider harsher penalties for owners of aggressive animals
Posted: December-24-2008Adjust font size:

Chinese legislators are considering imposing harsher penalties on animal breeders and pet owners whose animals attack people under a tort draft submitted to the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee for a second reading Monday.

The draft, which would more narrowly define liability for the owners of aggressive animals was still being deliberated on Tuesday.

The revised law, if approved, is stricter than previous versions, according to legislators. It would assign liability to the animal owner even if the injured person provoked the attack.

However, if the responsible party can prove that the animal was threatened or seriously provoked by the injured party, then a lighter penalty or reprieve might be imposed, according to the revised draft.

Legislator Cao Bochun suggested removing the exemption clause. "No matter how serious the offence the injured committed, breeders should take responsibility to a certain extent," he said.

Animal biting has become a big problem in China in recent years, with thousands of cases reported in Beijing alone, according to the legislators. Rabies has long remained in the top three killers among infectious diseases in the country.

To protect people's life and safety, rules have to be strict, legislation said.

Some legislators also suggested specifying who was to take responsibility for animal attacks in nature reserves. In addition to breeders and pet owners, managers of restaurants that keep animals and zoo keepers would also be held liable for animal attacks.

Source: Xinhua News AgencyEditor: Lydia
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