A total of 510 people were hurt by pet dogs in Tianjin, a north China port city, during the just-concluded Spring Festival holiday when they teased the animals for the purpose of hearing the sound of "woof-woof", which they believed would bring wealth and fortune in the new year.
The number of people hurt by dogs in the city from Jan. 29 to Feb. 5, the holiday period this year, was over 100 more than the previous Lunar New Year period, according to the Tianjin Municipal Disease Control Center.
Doctors with the center said that some people were bitten by pet dogs raised by their friends and relatives because they are not familiar with the pet dogs. Some others teased pet dogs raised by their friends and relatives just hoping to hear the barking, but were bitten by the dogs.
Chinese people like the barking sound because "woof-woof" resembles the pronunciation of Chinese character "Wang", which means prosperity.
As a loyal and obedient animal, dogs are also thought to be able to bring fortune by Chinese people. As a Chinese saying goes," Cats comes with poverty, while dogs with property."
Experts with the Tianjin disease control center warned citizens to be cautious when playing with the pet dogs to prevent injuries.
They said that Tianjin reported three cases of rabies from the end of October to early November last year and all the three people were dead. These were the first three rabies-caused death cases reported in the city since 1994.
Experts suggested that pet keepers, veterinarians, animal keepers and people working in the fields of animal husbandry, animal slaughtering and labs, and medical workers dealing with rabies cases should inject rabies bacterin before they were bittenby animals.