Date: Jan 24th 2014 2:40p.m.

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As the country prepares for the ending of an old year and the beginning of a new, many will find themselves moving house or leaving town. Unfortunately, at this time of year there is also a corresponding rise in pet abandonment, says Mary Peng of the International Center for Veterinary Services.

It’s difficult seeing an abandoned pet on the street and not want to scoop it up and help. While in many countries helping out a needy animal is as easy as taking it to a shelter, in Beijing it’s a more challenging issue. There is no official registration system for animal shelters, and as a result the only ones available are unofficial shelters, often the homes or properties of people who started taking on stray animals and found that word got out and their animal population grew.These shelters are already overcrowded, with little room for new additions. In order to board animals at veterinary clinics or animal hospitals, the pets have to have had rabies shots and up to date vaccinations.

So if you really want to help the dog or cat you find on the street, take them to the vet, get them their shots, and try to find a home for them through your social networks, says Peng. ICVS can help with vaccinations and advice on how to handle strays.