Chinese health workers wearing hazmat suits have beaten a corgi to death in the name of pandemic protocols while the dog’s owner was undertaking Covid quarantine.
The government officials bashed the animal’s head with a crowbar after breaking in to the home in Shangrao in southeastern Jiangxi province on Friday, shocking video shows.
The corgi’s owner, named only as Fu, was undergoing compulsory quarantine in a nearby hotel at the time, even though she is negative for Covid and the dog was never even tested.
The killing was the latest example of the horrifying lengths China is going to in order to achieve zero Covid.
Chinese authorities are under pressure to curb rising infections as the Delta variant continues to spread. So far, around 1,300 cases have been recorded across two thirds of the country’s provinces.
Fu had been ordered to leave her home after positive cases were detected in her residential compound.
Just hours later, CCTV footage showed two pandemic workers entering the living room wielding a crowbar and a plastic bag.
One of them is heard asking: ‘Did the leader say we need to settle it right here on the spot?’
The other then replies: ‘Yes.’
He then approaches the corgi which is hiding under a table and whacks it in the head with the crowbar, causing it to whimper and run into another room.
The video was shared by the dog’s owner and depicts the moments before the corgi was killed.
A district government official said the workers were instructed to disinfect the home but were forced to apologise to Fu for carrying out the ‘decontamination treatment’ on the dog.
It is not yet clear if they were following orders to kill the dog.
The execution has sparked debate about the draconian methods to stamp out the virus as well as animal rights issues.
All residents in the complex were ordered to enter quarantine on Friday and leave their pets behind at home.
Fu said workers had repeatedly told her they would not take away or kill the dog in her absence.
She wrote in a since-deleted post: ‘The dog tried to avoid the beating and fled into the bedroom, and therefore it wasn’t recorded by surveillance camera, but (I) could hear faint wails.
‘A few minutes later, they said they’ve dealt with it and would take it away, holding a yellow plastic bag in their hands.’
‘Even now I don’t know whether my dog is alive or dead, and where it has been taken.’
Since her post, the local government said the dog was killed as part of plans to ‘thoroughly disinfect’ the community.
They added the workers had ‘safely disposed’ of the dog without having communicated with the owner.
The pair have since been removed from their positions and apologised to the owner, local authorities said.
But Fu claims she was pressured by government officials and her employer to delete her online posts.
In September, three cats in China were killed after testing positive for the virus, again without the owner’s consent.
Some animals have contracted the virus, normally via humans, but there is no evidence they are playing a significant role in its spread.
The Chinese Communist Party is responding to outbreaks by locking down entire neighbourhoods, forcing them into quarantine and carrying out mass testing as part of its Zero Covid strategy.
But Beijing has no Covid policy regarding pets and some local authorities have allowed owners to take animals with them in quarantine while others have put in strict measures.
The corgi’s death has sparked outrage, with the hashtag #IspeakupfortheCorgiinShangrao trending online in protest against the killing.