This story contains graphic footage and descriptions of violence.
In what might be a pet owner’s worst nightmare, a man’s missing dogs were found dead, having been butchered at a construction site right next door from his house.
Walking around the site in the southern Cambodian city of Kampot, he found what appeared to be dog body parts strewn around the area—including an ashen, decapitated canine head lying on the ground—believed to be the remains of his pet huskies.
The gruesome scene was captured in a 6-minute video taken by the pet owner, identified in local reports as Soeung Bunthon. Bunthon’s tragic encounter went viral after he posted the video on Facebook on March 11, where it has been viewed around 488,000 times.
Warning, graphic images.
In the video, Bunthon can be seen slumped on the ground, weeping hysterically while holding a severed dog’s head and petting it in a grief-stricken fit. Around him were mutilated dog carcasses. A shorter version of the video that was on TikTok also gained traction, but has since been taken down.
Local authorities said nine construction workers were arrested this week for the grisly crime and charged with theft with aggravating circumstances—an offense punishable with three to 10 years in prison.
The workers claimed that they killed the huskies after the dogs had bitten their chickens, an unnamed relative of Bunthon’s family told local media.
Animal rights groups estimate that 3 million dogs are killed in Cambodia every year for the dog meat trade, many of which are stolen pets. Some believe dog meat—also locally known as “special meat”—to have medicinal value.
In 2020, Siem Reap became the first province in Cambodia to ban the slaughter and trade of dog meat—a move widely lauded as a watershed moment for the country’s animal welfare laws. However, beyond the tourist hotspot, dog meat continues to be traded and consumed freely.
According to local reports, the huskies, believed to be named HaTaRi, DuDi, and DuDU, wandered next door through a hole in Bunthon’s fence on March 11. Bunthon realized that the huskies were missing when he came home around 11 a.m. and found their butchered parts at the nearby construction site.
Bunthon recorded himself confronting workers at the scene after discovering his dead dogs. “Why are all of you so brutal?” he cried hysterically, pointing at the workers at the scene. “What did my dogs do to you?”
“Let Dad apologize for not taking care of his children,” reads another post on Bunthon’s Facebook page on Wednesday, referencing his huskies. “Dad hates himself and is very angry.”