A southern China community neighbourhood management office offered cash rewards to citizens for slaughtering “stray” or “unleashed” dogs during the coronavirus epidemic, according to an online news report.
The gruesome incentive was included in a notice issued to residents of the Wanjiang Community in Dongguan, Guangdong province, in response to complaints about irresponsible dog owners, Kankanews.com reported.
While the document dealt mostly with issues such as the need for owners to have a licence for their pets and to show consideration for other residents by keeping their animals on a lead in public areas and cleaning up after them, it also included a warning.
That stated any dog seen within the grounds of the compound and not on a lead would be classed as a stray. And anyone who killed a stray was entitled to claim a reward of 200 yuan (U.S.$28) – once the death had been verified by a security guard.
According to the South China Morning Post, the response to the proposal has been one of utter outrage and many who saw the notice were horrified.
“It’s such a barbaric rule. It’s not what a civilised society should do,” a woman was quoted as saying.
“If children see this, they won’t believe that they should love animals,” another said.
Widespread fears of pets being able to spread the coronavirus disease began in January after a Chinese health expert claimed animals needed to be quarantined during the outbreak to stop the spread of the disease.
However, the World Health Organization dismissed the claims suggesting there is no evidence to show the virus being transmitted to pets.
The notice is now being re-drafted because “its content was inappropriate”, a spokesperson from the Wanjiang community, known by his surname Long, told Kankan News.
“We wanted to regulate keeping pets. We are not encouraging killing dogs,” Long added.
China’s relationship with “man’s best friend” has always been one of complexity with it being both a pet and something to be eaten.
As Breitbart News reported, the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen last month wanted local restaurants to take dogs and cats off their menus as the country clamped down on the wildlife trade scientists suspect led to the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
Reuters reports a new city regulation stated only nine meats that are permitted for consumption, including pork, chicken, beef and rabbit, as well as fish and seafood.
“Banning the consumption of wild animals is a common practice in developed countries and is a universal requirement of modern civilization,” the notice said.
Apart from dogs, the new Shenzhen act bars snake, frog and turtle meat from the dinner table.