Beijing’s international reputation, has taken another needless hit … perceived globally as a “heartless” move, authorities there have launched a Draconian campaign against pet owners, who own dogs larger than 35 centimetres.

Beijing is following in the footsteps of Chinese cities Wuhan and Hangzhou by banning medium- and large-dog breeds, sparking animal groups to plead for volunteers to save the dogs’ lives by flying them out of China, Taiwan News reported.

Taiwan’s Green Party revealed the new rule implemented by Beijing’s southeast Tongzhou District by citing a legal notice.

It says residents are banned from raising dogs taller than 35 centimeters.

Pet owners are given a “three-day grace period” after receiving the notice.

Medium and large dog breeds have to leave the city or they will be impounded by police officers.

Beijing’s police department justified the new rule by saying they have received complaints since November about misbehaving dogs. Grievances included walking the dogs without a leash and dog fouling.

But rather than look for a logical solution, or soliciting suggestions from Beijing residents — increased surveillance and harsher fines might have worked — officials arbitrarily issued a death sentence.

On the verge of an Olympic Games, no less.

Many locals feel the move was a knee-jerk over-reaction, typical of cold and unfeeling Chinese officials — a reputation that has been fostered worldwide, unfortunately.

Pet owners in the city have understandably become distraught by the surprise move.

Media reported that in order to save their dogs, owners have tearfully made the decision to get their pets put down at animal hospitals, rather than see their dogs dragged away by bureau enforcers.

Chinese singer-songwriter Pu Shu (朴樹), who was brought up in Beijing, used his Weibo account to beg for the dogs’ lives and appeal for more humane laws, according to UDN.

Beijing animal rescue group CaliPaw is looking for volunteers planning to visit Los Angeles or San Francisco to rescue the dogs.

According to China Daily, Beijing’s “war on dogs” began this summer when authorities banned the walking of dogs in city parks.

The Beijing Gardening and Greening Bureau published a blacklist of so-called “uncivilized behaviours” in public parks, adding activities such as walking pets, making loud noises, digging wild vegetables or fishing.

Owners’ refusal to tie up their dogs or clean up their dog’s droppings annoyed many park goers.

As a result, the bureau listed dog walking on its blacklist.

To ensure the effectiveness of the blacklist, the authority posted the rules in all parks, adding about 1,000 volunteers to watch for violations.

The regulation triggered discussion among the public, especially pet owners.

“I feel like I have become inferior to others since I started raising my dog because there are too many restrictions and limits for dog owners,” said Liu Zhe, who lives near Yuyuantan Park in Haidian district.

Liu, 30, said his residential community has also banned dog walking to prevent them from biting people.

“I cannot walk my dog on roads, nor the residential areas,” he said. “I usually walked my dog in the park near my home. Sometimes, I run with it, which makes me feel good. Now, I cannot take it to the park. I don’t know where I can be with my dog except at home.”

In countries such as the United States and many in Europe, dogs play with people in parks, on roads and pretty much everywhere, Liu said.

“I envy them so much,” he said. “Dogs are real friends there.”