In a sign of China's growing affluence, the city of Shanghai this month instituted a "one-dog policy" to control the number of pets.
The one canine per household quota comes as pedigreed dogs have become a common sight on Chinese streets once bereft of pet dogs except a few owned by the bourgeois elite -- along with a rising number of strays. As of May 15, Shanghai families are limited to one dog per household and are required to register the animal.
China Central TV reports fewer than 25 percent of the city's estimated 800,000 pet dogs are registered.
To get people to register their pets license fees were slashed, now ranging from $46 to $300 depending on what part of the city or suburbs they live in.
"This will surely encourage dog owners to get their pet registered for a license," Zhang Yi, director of the Shanghai Small Animal Protection Association, told China Daily.
The new regulations also forbid abusing or abandoning dogs, mandate humane disposal of impounded strays, and ban certain breeds including bulldogs, mastiffs, Rottweilers and German shepherds.
Families that already have more than one licensed dog will be allowed to keep their other animals, but households that have multiple unlicensed dogs will only be allowed to register one.
For the first time, laws require dogs to be leashed in public and dog owners to clean up after their animals. Violations carry fines ranging from $768 to $7,680.
"The regulation is not only aimed at encouraging dog owners to conduct themselves well while raising pets, but also elaborates on their legal obligations," a member of the panel that drafted the laws wrote during an online discussion sponsored by the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress.
Beijing, which once banned all pet dogs, and several other major Chinese cities have similar pet regulations.
In Los Angeles, a city council member has proposed a ban on the sale of commercially bred dogs, cats and rabbits to cut demand for "designer" pets.
"Growing sentiment against puppy mills and kitten mills is why I am introducing this motion, so we can begin regulating the mills and the stores that provide an outlet for dogs and cats," Councilman Paul Koretz told the Los Angeles Daily News.
The Los Angeles Department of Animal Services says the city has euthanized more than 20,000 dogs and cats since May 2010. Koretz said he hopes his proposal will reduce that number but breeders say it will simply drive pet shops out of the city and dog sales underground.
"All it would do is create a black market of breeders," said Hank Greenwood, president of the Utah-based American Dog Breeders Association. "What he (Koretz) is saying is that animals from USDA-inspected-and-regulated kennels would not be able to be sold at these stores. And it might put a lot of stores out of business."
Koretz also asked animal services officials to study whether pet stores should have to give space to cages to encourage adoption of animals from city shelters.
In New Jersey, a bill that would extend laws protecting family pets from domestic violence advanced in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
The law would allow judges to add pets to restraining orders to protect them from abusers, assign legal custody of pets to abuse victims and allow judges to remove pets from dangerous homes. Some 21 U.S. states have similar laws, The (Bergen) Record said.
"We've heard so many stories of pets being abused or even killed as retaliation against a partner when a relationship goes sour," bill co-sponsor Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, D-Paramus said.
Palm Beach County in Florida has banned owners from tying pets outside unless they are present to monitor the pet.
The ordinance also requires an outdoor kennel to have a minimum dimension of 100 square feet and 50 square feet for each additional dog, WPBF-TV, West Palm Beach, reports. The law toughens regulations for pet stores and outlaws bestiality.
Although Toronto may be considering scrapping pet licenses entirely, for the time being, animal owners not in compliance can expect a knock on the door.
The Toronto Star says animal control officers are out in the neighborhoods carrying wireless credit card readers asking pet owners to renew their $25 dog licenses.
The city has been debating dropping pet licenses because it costs $2 million to collect $2.4 million in annual revenues. Toronto has eight full-time animal control officers.
The animal services department estimates 90 percent of the city's domestic cats and 70 percent of the pet dogs are unlicensed, The Globe and Mail reported.