Tibetan mastiffs were once considered one of the world’s most coveted and expensive dogs, but now they’re becoming a big problem in rural Tibet, with at least 500 stray dogs inhabiting numerous villages in Qinghai Province.
However, these stray mastiffs are known to be more of a threat to the Chinese province’s livestock and residents. According to Shanghaiist
, there had already been civilian casualties involving Tibetan mastiff attacks, including the death of an 8-year-old girl in November 2016.
The significant decline in Tibetan mastiff trade led to a number of breeders closing their shops. Annual mastiff sales suffered a massive drop from 200 million yuan ($29 million) to 50 million yuan ($7.2 million).
The shrinking market of this once highly-coveted breed prompted breeders in the region to simply abandon their mastiffs.
According to MailOnline
, there have been exotic pet owners who cross breed a bevy of Tibetan mastiffs, resulting in poor quality dogs and cannot be sold to buyers.
Not only did this lead to a significant drop in mastiff sales in 2013, there was also an oversupply of unwanted dogs destined to be left on the streets.
Another cause of the rising population of stray Tibetan mastiffs is their strong fertility rate, which only aided in further multiplying their numbers.
Officials in Maozhuang Township, in southern Qinghai, tried to solve the dilemma by building a shelter for the stray dogs for 200,000 yuan (more than $30,000), but the mastiffs’ big appetite and constantly rising numbers proved to be too costly for them to manage.
Local governments even considered exterminating the dangerous stray dogs, but Tibetan Buddhists in the area detested the idea since it was strongly against their religion.