The killing of a pet dog in China while its owner was in quarantine has sparked outrage on social media and led to the sacking of a Covid-19 health worker.
On Friday, a resident of Shangrao in Jiangxi province posted on social media platform Weibo, saying that her dog was beaten to death by health workers who were sanitising her apartment while she was in quarantine at a hotel that did not allow pets.
The resident, identified as Mrs Fu, shared video footage from security cameras that were inside her home, showing two health workers entering her apartment and then beating her dog with iron bars.
One of the videos of the incident has gone viral on Weibo, and has been viewed over 210 million times.
The government of the prefecture-level Shangrao city apologised to the dog’s owner, and said they had fired a health worker, according to a statement issued on its official Weibo account on Saturday night.
Social media users, however, have not stopped expressing their anger and disgust with authorities over the incident, even after the government issued the apology.
The government, in its statement, explained that the residents of the community were supposed to leave their doors open while being quarantined, but the door of this particular resident’s apartment was shut.
The health workers received assistance from police in opening the door to disinfect it, which is when they found the dog inside.
The officials said the health workers proceeded to deal with the dog through “harmless disposal,” according to a report on the state-run Global Times newspaper.
One user on Weibo, in an angry comment, said: “Without the instructions of the leaders above, who would dare to pry the door and kill the dog?”
Other observers said health workers should have emphasised on the “humane” treatment of animals.
“The government of Shangrao leaves me speechless,” another user wrote. “This dog was not even confirmed of having Covid19. Nevertheless, they just beat him to death. How can you be so cruel?!”
Earlier in September, three pet cats, that had reportedly tested positive for Covid, were euthanised in the Chinese city of Harbin, sparking outrage.
In this case, however, the dog was not tested for Covid. One social media user said: “You just dispose of the dog and that’s it? The dog’s life is over! We don’t even know how many dogs were killed like this.”
There is currently no research that can conclusively show proof that pets transmit the novel coronavirus, that causes the Covid disease, onto their owners.
The current incident, and the outrage over it, spurred state-run broadcaster CCTV to tell local governments “shouldn’t treat other people’s pets as mere beasts” and that they should be more humane and scientific, reported the South China Morning Post.