Dog Abuse

COVID-19 Prevention Workers in China Kill Pets While Owners are in Quarantine

Epidemic prevention workers in China were caught on a resident’s home surveillance camera brutally beating her Corgi while she was locked away in a quarantine facility. The dog’s owner had tested negative for COVID-19 at the time.

Screenshot from the viral video that sparked international outrage about China’s treatment of pets during the coronavirus pandemic.

Because of China’s strict adherence to a zero-tolerance policy, epidemic prevention workers are taking extreme, inhumane measures in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19.

When a resident of Shangrao, known only by her surname, Fu, was found through contact tracing measures to have been in close contact with someone that later tested positive for COVID-19, she was forced to leave her dog at home while she was placed in a quarantine facility.

Ms. Fu was assured that her dog, a Corgi named Chaofen, would be taken care of while she was locked down in the facility despite having tested negative for the virus.

Instead, she watched in horror through a live video feed to her cellphone as epidemic prevention workers dressed in hazmat suits and brandishing an iron rod entered her home and cornered her frightened dog. In local interviews, Ms. Fu said she begged workers to leave her dog alone through the surveillance camera’s intercom system, but her pleas were ignored. She saw a worker hit Chaofen in the face with the rod, and then follow the Corgi off-screen when he ran from them. Moments later, the worker again appeared on camera, this time carrying a yellow bag with Chaofen’s dead body inside. Chaofen’s death occurred only hours after Ms. Fu was placed in quarantine.

Devastated, Ms. Fu shared the video footage to the incident on social platform, Weibo, where it immediately went viral, sparking outrage about the country’s treatment of animals.

In response to the video, officials made a statement saying the workers had been sent to disinfect the residential building after it was linked to a possible COVID-19 outbreak. According to the statement, the workers followed “biosafety disposal” procedures in the residence “amid inadequate communication” with Ms. Fu. They said the dog was “disposed of harmlessly,” a claim rejected by the more than 230-million viewers that watched video of the incident and heard Chaofen’s cries as he was beaten. They also asserted that the worker who killed Chaofen was disciplined and forced to apologize to Ms. Fu.

There was no mention of Chaofen being tested for the virus before he was killed.

Chaofen’s death, while the most well-known incident due to the viral video, was not the first report of health workers sentencing citizens’ pets to death as part of their pandemic response. Earlier this month, a pet cat was euthanized in Chengdu. In the city of Harbin, three cats were killed in September while their owner was completing quarantine. The policy of killing pets is not nationwide. Major cities including Beijing and Shanghai allow animals to join their owners at pet-friendly quarantine facilities.

There remains no proven evidence that pets can transmit the COVID-19 virus to humans, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

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