She Was Ordered Into Quarantine, Then Chinese Authorities Beat Her Corgi to Death

When a pet owner in China was taken into quarantine, government workers broke into her home and killed her dog.
china pet dogs covid
Pet owners in China are worried their animals could be mistreated if they are ordered into quarantine. Photo: Zhai Yujia/China News Service via Getty Images

Outrage brewed online over the weekend in China after government workers broke into a woman’s home and killed her dog while she was being held in quarantine. 

The woman, named only as Fu and living in Shangrao in the eastern province of Jiangxi, was ordered to leave her home on Friday for a hotel after positive cases were detected in her residential compound. Hours later, a surveillance camera at her home showed workers in hazmat suits lever open her door and beat her Corgi dog with steel rods, according to Chinese news reports. 

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The dog could be heard screaming in the security footage, while a worker told her via the video link that they were following their supervisors’ instructions. 

In a statement on Saturday, a district government official said the workers were instructed to disinfect the Fu’s home, but that they had been told to apologize to her for carrying out what he referred to as a “decontamination treatment” on the dog without her consent. It remains unclear whether the dog was ordered to be killed or not. 

The Chinese government has committed to keeping COVID-19 numbers at zero, often using strict measures to do so. In places where outbreaks are detected, officials lock down entire neighborhoods or cities to carry out mass testing. 

While the zero-tolerance policy enjoys strong public support in China, several recent instances of authorities killing pets as a pandemic prevention measure has led to outcry over what people see as an infringement of citizens’ rights. With pet ownership on the rise, young Chinese are increasingly calling for better protection for their animals, a demand officials have sometimes failed to respect. 

A resident in the southwestern city of Chengdu said this month on the Instagram-like social media app Xiaohongshu that her three cats were killed after she was taken into quarantine. In September, authorities in the northeastern city of Harbin also euthanized three cats without the owner’s consent after traces of coronavirus were detected on the animals. 

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Beijing has no national policy on the treatment of pets after owners are quarantined. Some local authorities have allowed residents to take dogs or cats into quarantine, or leave one person at home to take care of the animals. 

The death of the Corgi has sparked a rare expression of open discontent from young people in China. On Xiaohongshu, users posted photos of their own pets along with the hashtag #IspeakupfortheCorgiinShangrao to protest the killing. 

On Saturday, Weibo removed a viral post documenting the event, citing violations of “relevant laws and regulations,” further infuriating internet users. It’s common for Chinese social media platforms to delete content deemed to threaten social stability. 

“If I don’t protest today, my cat could suffer from the same fate as her dog,” a Weibo user commented. “She represents every ordinary pet owner in this pandemic.” 

“The key is not about cats and dogs,” another person wrote. “This incident and how it has developed are terrifying because they’ve exposed there’s no limit on the authority's power.”

Similarly brutal actions taken by Vietnamese authorities last month, when officials beat 15 dogs to death as a pandemic prevention measure, also sparked widespread outrage in China’s southern neighbor. 

Follow Viola Zhou on Twitter.