A Filipino family in New Zealand complaint of racism to police after getting chased by a Siberian Husky and subsequently being told by its owner’s friend to return to China and take COVID-19 back with them.
The altercation reportedly occurred while the family of four were walking around their neighborhood in Swanson, an outlying suburb of Auckland, on Saturday night.
The father of the family, identified only as Rob, said that they had spotted the Siberian husky appearing to “act erratically” 100 meters (328 feet) from their location.
When the dog got closer, Rob decided to “bark” in an attempt to scare it away.
Rob also removed his younger son from his stroller, which he then used as a barrier between the dog and his family. It was at that point when the owner of the dog emerged from his house, though he failed to catch the dog.
“I said you really need to control your animal … because I’m ready to hit your dog with this pram (stroller),” Rob told the owner, according to the NZ Herald.
Shortly after, another man — said to be the dog owner’s friend — appeared from the same residence and asked whether their dog had bitten Rob’s son.
Rob argued that whether the dog had bitten his son was not the point, but controlling the animal. The dog owner’s friend then turned furious, prompting Rob’s wife to start recording the commotion.
“Go back to China you bloody … take your COVID-19 with you,” he told the family.
After the incident, the man reportedly regretted blurting out the coronavirus reference and asserted that he was not racist at all.
The dog owner’s friend added that Rob had actually assaulted him when the latter grabbed his arm, which led him to yell out to neighbors to call 111. He also claimed that the video shows only a small portion of what happened — and that he never laid a finger on Rob.
Meanwhile, the dog owner explained that his husky is just an excited pup and was not aggressive at all. He said that he felt scared when Rob started wielding the stroller, seemingly about to kill his dog.
The owner said that he had apologized to Rob and his family. However, he and his friend are pressing assault charges against Rob.
The family, on the other hand, lodged a racial attack complaint to the police. They also reported about the dog being loose to Animal Control.
The incident has since reached Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon, who maintained that racism and discrimination are “not tolerated anywhere.”
“I know it is a very sensitive time during COVID-19 so we as a commission are doing all we can to put out messages regarding how to keep safe,” Foon said, according to news.com.au.
“It is actually going to be quite dangerous for Asian people more particularly. There has been an increase in reports to police and NetSafe analyst of Artificial Intelligence data in lockdown it was more focused on internet abuse, but as people come out there’s going to be more visibility so there is a high probability there are going to be more race-based issues come to the fore.”
New Zealand has 1,503 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the latest figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Feature Image Screenshots via NZ Herald