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September 5, 2011

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'Ghost' dog found dead

A STRAY dog that attacked 17 people, even biting off a seven-year-old boy's eyelid, was found beaten to death yesterday morning.

The dog, referred to as "ghostly" by people living in a community on Yongtai Road in the Pudong New Area because it attacked out of nowhere and disappeared just as quickly, evaded attempts to catch it on Saturday.

A SWAT team and armed dog catchers were dispatched to search and destroy the dog, but it played "hide and seek" with them the whole day, police said.

The dog was last seen alive at 10:15pm when several dog catchers spotted it and started to beat it with wooden clubs, but it still, although injured, managed to run off into the dark, police said.

Some residents in the community believe the dog might have died of its injuries during the night, while another said it could have been killed by its owner, a woman with red hair who is said to have abandoned it.

The police are still investigating the case to find out the reason for its death and to see whether the dog was carrying the rabies virus.

The medium-sized yellow dog found dead by residents yesterday was confirmed by victims as the dog that had attacked them.

But the death of one stray dog may not allay residents' fears of further attacks.

A Pudong hospital said they had dealt with 51 cases of dog attacks over the weekend, with all the patients saying they had been bitten or scratched by wild dogs.

Doctors said that people should stay away from stray dogs as they may become more aggressive in hot days.

The boy whose eyelid was ripped off by the dog is to have surgery to repair the damage. A plea by Zhou Tu'en's mother, a migrant worker surnamed Fang from Fujian Province, that the community's property management company cover medical expenses and pay compensation has been rejected.

The company said they have no such plans so far as they said no laws require them to protect residents from stray dogs.

The other 16 victims, bitten on their legs and hands, are all in a stable condition, doctors said.

Animal welfare volunteers say the local government should introduce a policy to at least get stray dogs vaccinated to prevent rabies.

They said that although dog owners in Shanghai are required to vaccinate their dogs, stray dogs are not covered by the policy, thus posing a danger of spreading rabies.

"In the US and some other countries, governments raise funds to vaccinate stray dogs," said Vivian, a volunteer with Jaiya's Animal Rescue, a Shanghai group of expats and residents working to rescue and rehome stray animals. She said Shanghai should do the same.


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