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February 17, 2011

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Witness says owner allowed dog to be butchered

AN eyewitness said yesterday that the golden retriever filmed being skinned on a street, in full view of the public, on Tuesday was killed by a car and the butchery was done with the consent of the dog's owner.

That testimonial only sparked greater anger among animal lovers who watched the five-minute video, which was being widely spread and reposted on many influential news and social networking websites.

Some were campaigning online yesterday, inviting more to join a physical search of the site where the incident happened to find the butcher in the video and castigate him for his actions. Netizens were also appealing for authorities to speed up regulatory trials to introduce criminal punishments for animal abuses and to better protect them.

Shanghai is ready to have its first canine-owning regulations enacted in the coming months, but it will include no punishments for abusing dogs.

In 2009, authorities released a draft that may provide the basis for the first animal protection law in China. The draft mentioned conditions to ensure the wellbeing of animals and criminally punish people who abuse them. However, experts said the law is not expected to be finalized, or to take effect, for years.

Bloodstains and some bits of flesh could still be seen on the sidewalk where the incident happened yesterday morning, evidence of the shocking butchery that took place on Shuidian Road in Hongkou District.

A local TV station managed to find an eyewitness yesterday.

The witness, who works at a bike repair stall close by, told the TV station that he saw the dog owner hand over the corpse to the man, allowing him to "deal with it" as he liked. The dog owner said the golden retriever had been killed by a car, the witness said. However, he refused to identify the butcher or provide any clues so people could find him.

The news that the owner willingly handed over his pet's body to be butchered further shocked animal lovers and seemed to have intensified their fury.

"What kind of a master allows that to happen to his dog even it's dead? That's so unbelievable," said one angry dog owner.

The person who filmed the video, a woman surnamed Shang, appeared in a TV interview yesterday.

"My hands couldn't stop trembling while I was filming. I could find no words to describe my feeling at that moment. It's too cruel," the woman said.

During the video, pedestrians, including several students, could be seen walking past the scene. Psychologists said such practices could traumatize witnesses, especially the young. "I am not a pet lover but I couldn't tolerate such behavior," a female interviewee said yesterday during a TV news report canvassing public opinion.

Public health concerns have also been raised regarding the slaughter. "The blood and remains pollute the public environment and may spread diseases. We will stop such public butchery during daily patrols," Su Wenhuo, an urban management team official, said yesterday.


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