Chinese social media users were angered and riled up when a post on social media platform Weibo alleged the killing of a pet corgi by two Covid-19 anti-epidemic workers.
Crowbar allegedly used to beat dog
On Nov. 12, a Weibo user, known as Fu, shared security footage recording in her home showing anti-epidemic workers, donned in their personal protective equipment (PPE), entering her apartment in Shangrao, Jiangxi province, according to What's on Weibo.
They were then seen hitting her pet dog on its head with what looked like an iron rod, before the dog ran away to another room.
The post has garnered more than 170 million views on Weibo.
According to the post, Fu was undergoing quarantine at a local hotel that did not allow pets.
Fu wrote that the whole community was undergoing a localised lockdown and residents were quarantined at hotels while their apartments underwent disinfection.
Local authorities had earlier said dogs would be unharmed as long as they were leashed during the disinfection process, The Washington Post reported.
Dog dealt with through "harmless disposal": local authorities
According to What's on Weibo, on Nov. 13, officials from the district released a statement via Weibo, stating that residents were "supposed to leave their (apartment) doors open" while they undergo quarantine.
The statement said that Fu's door was closed. Hence, anti-epidemic workers sought assistance from the police to enter the apartment.
The authorities added that the workers discovered the dog at her apartment and proceeded to "deal with the dog through harmless disposal" (无害化处理).
In addition, they apologised for "failing to communicate" with the owner.
According to Global Times, the employee who killed the corgi had been terminated.
Global Times further said that according to the authorities, the corgi's owner "expressed understanding toward the staff and the anti-epidemic measures".
Following the incident, Chinese netizens expressed their anger and frustration towards the authorities.
According to posts that What's on Weibo collated, one Weibo user commented: "The government of Shangrao leaves me speechless." The user added that the dog was not even tested for Covid-19 before it was dealt with.
"They just beat him to death. How can you be so cruel?!"
Another user responded: "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."
What's on Weibo also highlighted a comment by a netizen who believed that Fu was pressured to delete her post.
"Prying open people's doors, killing people's pets, and then pressuring people to delete their posts on the matter, forcing them to settle (..) Shangrao government is really putting itself on display here."
Pets euthanised before
The Guardian reported that this was not the first time that pets were killed or euthanised for fear of the animals spreading the Covid-19 virus.
In September, officials in Harbin were accused of overreacting when they culled three cats after they tested positive for Covid-19 -- all while their owner was in hospital.
These incidents alarmed pet owners in China, Bloomberg reported.
One pet owner wrote on Weibo: "I'm so afraid now. I live in Chengdu and have two pets. My family loves them."
"Now I don't dare to leave my apartment anymore, and my father doesn't even bring his phone to grocery shopping, just in case we become close contacts."
Those identified as close contacts of confirmed cases are sent by authorities to mandatory quarantine for weeks.
China is currently battling its fourth wave of Covid-19 brought about by the Delta variant, with 1,308 cases recorded from Oct. 17 to Nov. 15.
Its zero-tolerance approach to tackling the pandemic has been criticised by local Chinese as being too extreme and inflexible.
Follow and listen to our podcast here
Top image via @shiangling/Unsplash & popnews/YouTube