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Online fury at report of dogs buried alive

REPORTS of stray dogs being buried alive in north China have caused a furore online with thousands of posts slamming an “inhumane” and “shameful” act.

A post on Sina Weibo has appealed for help after scores of stray dogs are seen trapped in a pit near a garbage dump in Alxa Left Banner in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The Yinchuan Dawn Pets Home charity group said it had investigated after a woman searching for her pet dog near the garbage dump told them the animals were trapped.

It posted pictures of the dogs, including a close-up of a puppy in a pit about 1.8 meters deep. The original post was followed by subsequent updates detailing the burial claims.

The photos were taken last Wednesday by the woman surnamed Tan, who told Xinhua news agency: “We saw around a hundred dogs in a pit, but we could not get down into it because it was too deep.”

Tan told Xinhua she and five friends tried to save the dogs using ropes but only managed to retrieve just over 20 of them.

She said the dogs must have been there for a long time, as the ones they rescued were very thirsty.

A volunteer at the charity told Xinhua that eight of their members went to rescue the dogs at around 2am the next day only to find that the pit had been filled in. Only a few dogs could be seen running around, the volunteer said.

“We could not dig as we didn’t have proper tools,” she told Xinhua.

A number of dead dogs were retrieved from the pit at around 6pm on Friday, according to the news agency.

A charity volunteer told AFP yesterday that when they visited last Friday it appeared that the dead dogs had been moved elsewhere, in what the group said was an attempt by local chengguan — urban management officers — to hide the grim burial.

“We hired an excavator and found in the place where the dogs were buried six dead dogs which were damaged by an excavator before we got there,” the volunteer told AFP. “These dogs all had soil in their mouths and noses, which means before we arrived at the scene local chengguan had already transferred the dogs’ bodies to another secret place.”

An official from the local chengguan office denied the allegations and said an investigation had been launched.

“We are investigating if some stray dogs were buried alive,” the official told AFP. “I can assure you we didn’t do this kind of thing, and moreover, we are not in charge of stray dogs.”

The allegations against the chengguan  sparked a wave of fury, with some online comments forwarded tens of thousands of times.

“(We) should put these officials into a pit, no better than a group of beasts,” was one Weibo post yesterday.

“Life is equal, how could thugs conduct such a massacre?” was another.

A member of staff at the local chengguan office told Xinhua they had caught dozens of stray dogs and put them in a rented yard because of complaints from residents that people and domestic animals had been bitten.

“We went to the yard after hearing about the reports, but only a few were there,” she told Xinhua.

Official policy in many Chinese cities is that stray dogs are rounded up and found new homes, but activists says they are usually put down or sometimes sold to restaurants.

Pet ownership has ballooned across China, with more than 30 million households now keeping a cat or dog, according to Euromonitor.



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