Temporary pet care poses some hitches

Updated: 2016-02-17 07:35

By Zhao Xinying/Du Juan(China Daily)

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Temporary pet care poses some hitches

A resident of Suzhou, Jiangsu province, bids farewell as she leaves her dog at a "pet hotel" last week while preparing to leave for the Spring Festival holiday.[Photo by Wang Jiankang/China Daily]

Before going back to her hometown for the Spring Festival holiday, Dong Jinxian, a 55-year-old Beijing resident, found it difficult to arrange for a temporary home for her feathered friends-two precious parrots.

With more urban residents keeping pets, it has become a common practice among pet owners to send their pets to temporary care centers while they are away on vacation, for example during the Spring Festival holiday.

However, the booming new service has some problems, as Dong found out.

"I had consulted lots of animal care centers, big and small, but all said they don't accept birds for lack of knowledge or experience in taking care of them," said Dong, who finally turned to a bird seller for help in finding someone to care for her pets.

Most animal hospitals across the country, including some large ones, now provide short-term stays for dogs and cats only-the two major choices when Chinese people decide to have a pet.

A nurse at Jinghe Animal Hospital, a leading institute in the industry in Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi province, said her hospital is no exception.

"We provide medical treatment and short-term care only for dogs and cats, based on a daily charge of 80 to 150 yuan ($12 to $23)," said the nurse, who requested anonymity.

Another problem is that disputes can arise due to disease, death or the loss of pets.

Liu Lin, a lawyer at Beijing Shuangli Law Firm, said pets are the property of people, and a good way to protect property is to sign agreements with care centers.

"Apart from the time and price for the temporary care, other related items including the habits of the pets and how the animals will be taken care of should also be included in the agreement in case of any possible disputes," he said.

The nurse at the Xi'an animal hospital said such agreements are standard practice at the hospital.

"In addition, our doctors will also give animals physical examinations to ensure their health condition before signing the agreement," she said. "We usually don't accept puppies or old dogs for a short stay to avoid disputes caused by their disease or death, and we will contact pet owners immediately if any health problem occurs."

Liu, the lawyer, said owners can ask for a postmortem examination to find out the cause of a pet's death and to help determine legal responsibility if anything unfortunate happens.

Cao Yin contributed to this story.