We talk about death, shootings, terrorism and murder pretty often here on the blog and all of that is disturbing. And yet, there’s something uniquely awful about people killing a harmless pet dog.
In this case, Chinese government officials beat a woman’s pet dog to death in her own home because the government apparently ordered them to do so. Video of the dog’s last moments show a scared Corgi being confronted by two men in hazmat suits who were there to sterilize the apartment because of a COVID outbreak. The dog’s owner had already been moved to a mandatory quarantine site.
A series of loud bangs startle the sleeping corgi, driving it out of its bed. The door opens and two people dressed in full hazmat suits enter the living room, one carrying a crowbar and another a yellow plastic bag.
“Did the leader say we need to settle it right here on the spot?” one of them can be heard asking. “Yes,” the other replies, as he proceeds to move a table the corgi was hiding under, and strike the animal on the head with the crowbar. The dog whimpers and runs off camera to another room.
So, we don’t actually see the dog’s final beating but we do see the other man walking out with its body in a bag. The distraught owner posted video of the incident on social media and, for reasons I can’t understand, people in China were shocked. Local authorities only made things worse for themselves when they tried to justify their actions:
On Saturday, November 13, Shangrao’s Xinzou district released a statement via its official Weibo channel (@信州发布). The statement, posted as late as 23:37, explained that residents of the community were supposed to leave their doors open while being quarantined, but that the door of this particular resident was closed. Anti-epidemic staff then received police assistance in entering the house to disinfect it, which is when they discovered the dog was at the home. The notice writes that the workers then proceeded to deal with the dog through “harmless disposal” (the literal words “无害化处理” could also be translated as ‘handling [something] to be made harmless’).
After this blew up on social media, Chinese state media outlet the Global Times called for more understanding for the poor worker who’d been removed from his job over his casual brutality:
When the anti-epidemic staffer carried out environmental disinfection at a resident house after the community was labelled as COVID-19 epidemic controlled area, the staffer gave harmless disposal on a pet dog without having fully communicated with the pet owner. The person was punished and transferred to another position, and was urged to make an apology to the dog owner, according to a notice released by Xinzhou district of Shangrao, a city in Jiangxi Province, on Saturday.
The dog owner now expressed understanding toward the staff and the anti-epidemic measures, the notice reads.
So the worker apologized for not communicating in advance that he was going to bludgeon her pet dog to death. As for the dog owner expressing “understanding” I’m guessing she was told that was the right answer unless she wanted to be charged with stirring up controversy online, which is a crime in China. The video was taken down and that was also, I’m sure, not her choice.
I guess it’s a good sign that Chinese people can still be shocked by the cruelty of their own government. Now if only there was a way for more news about that cruelty to get to them. State media covers a multitude of sins.