Beijing pet owners are reminded to remain vigilant after dozens of pet dogs have died from ingesting poison that has been allegedly placed around a Chaoyang neighborhood.
Since Dec 29, some 30 pet dogs have been poisoned to death in the Dianzicheng community located east of Jiangtai Station on Line 14 and near the 798 Art District.
Multiple dog owners in the neighborhood have complained that their dogs have mysteriously fallen ill after being taken on a walk outside. The dogs are said to have quickly died after exhibiting symptoms like vomiting, loss of bowel control, and muscle spasming.
Reports say veterinarians who have examined the dogs confirm they have been poisoned, while local police say they are investigating.
Pet poisonings are an almost regular occurrence in Beijing. Last June, 30 pet dogs were poisoned to death near Wuzi University in east-end Tongzhou. Ten pet dogs were poisoned to death in Chaoyang’s Shuanghe Gardens neighborhood in March 2015. Another 10 pet dogs were poisoned to death over the course of two days in the Chengzhuang neighborhood in west-end Fengtai in January 2014.
And then there were two incidents of mass dog poisonings in 2013, both taking place in Chaoyang. Two out of five poisoned pet dogs died in Shoukaichangqingteng in October of that year while 10 other dogs were poisoned to death in the Changqingteng neighborhood two months later.
Beyond that, Beijing has also experienced dog poisonings in 2010 and even as far back as 2005 while the rest of the country has experienced its fair share with one Changchun owner even offering a RMB 50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who poisoned her dog.
And yet, despite all of these tragic deaths, pet owners have not been able to attract widespread public sympathy.
Last year, a Beijing pet owner was widely rebuffed when she took to the Internet to warn others about a spate of dog poisonings. Instead of supporting her, a number of netizens squarely put the blame of the poisoning upon the pet owners themselves, explaining that their bad behavior of not using leashes and refusing to pick up after their dogs is the real problem.
As seen by some of the strongest points in the debate over the controversy, the discussion isn’t about the sanctity of animal life. The poisonings are often refuted by asking the hypothetic question: “What if a child were to eat this poison?” at the same time as news reports will categorize the poisoned victims as “pets” instead of “stray dogs.”
At the same time as pet ownership has become popular among affluent Chinese middle class, some parts of China still engage in the consumption of dogs and cats, thereby causing a conflict authorities have largely refused to involve themselves with.
China does not currently have a national animal protection law.
Beijing owners registered 950,000 pets in 2012. There are an estimated 2 million pet dogs in Beijing, both registered and unregistered.
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E-Mail: charlesliu1 (at) qq (dot) com
Images: People’s Daily