Horrified pet owners in China have claimed their helpless animals were murdered by authorities due to Covid. WARNING: Distressing.
Several reports have been made by Chinese locals claiming their pets were killed by health authorities while their owners were following quarantine orders.
Most recently, a woman in mandated quarantine shared CCTV footage of government officials in hazmat suits beating her corgi to death with an iron rod.
Living in the Jiangxi province of China, local rules meant residents in her neighbourhood were ordered to quarantine in hotels, while health workers sanitised their homes. However, pets weren’t allowed into the hotel and had to remain behind.
Sharing the now-deleted video on Chinese social media platform Weibo, the dog’s owner (who has only been identified by her surname, Fu) said she could hear her dog wailing before officials removed the body.
“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,” she wrote.
“A few minutes later, they said they’ve dealt with it and would take it away, holding a yellow plastic bag in their hands.”
An apology made by local government sparked further outrage, after spokespeople referred to the corgi’s death as a “harmless disposal”.
According to What’s On Weibo, online users protested the inhuman treatment of pets by Chinese officials. While it’s possible for dogs and cats to catch Covid-19, reports suggest the dog wasn’t tested for the virus before it was killed.
“The government of Shangrao leaves me speechless,” wrote one Weibo user. “This dog was not even confirmed of having Covid-19. Nevertheless, they just beat him to death. How can you be so cruel?”
A similar report was made by a woman from Harbin in September. She said her three cats were euthanised by community workers after they tested positive to Covid-19, while she was recovering from the virus in hospital.
According to the South China Morning Post, the woman did not give authorities permission to make the termination, however officials proceeded anyway, citing reasons related to public health.
Officials speaking to The Beijing News said: “If the environment is positive, then she cannot move back and the whole residential area could not move back, the outbreak will never end.”
This comes as a woman in Chengdu – a city in the southwestern province of China – said her cats were also euthanised while she was quarantining after being identified as a close contact.
Despite this, it seems like the pet care of residents forced into quarantine differs depending on the area. The SCMP reports that residents in the Daxing district government Beijing were allowed to quarantine in pet-friendly hotels. Authorities in Guangzhou in southern China also allocated staff to feed the pets of quarantined residents.
Can pets catch Covid-19?
While there have been cases of household pets catching Covid, research suggests infection is unlikely to pose a serious risk to people.
Speaking to The New York Times, a veterinarian at Ohio State University, Dr Jeanette O’Quin, said the risk of pets spreading the virus is low.
“It doesn’t look like cats or dogs would ever be a reservoir for this virus,” Dr O’Quin said.
“We believe that if there weren’t sick people around them, they would not be able to continue spreading it from animal to animal – it would not continue to exist in their population.”
Despite this, a study published this year suggested that human-to-animal transmission was slightly high in cats than dogs.
After testing the pets of households with at least one Covid-19 patient, three out of 17 cats (17.6 per cent) and one out of 59 dogs (1.7 per cent) also tested positive to the virus.
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