A debate erupted among netizens after a video of a police officer from Changsha, in China’s Hunan Province, surfaced showing him beating a tied dog to death with a long piece of wood as the public looked on in horror.
According to Chinese news site The Paper, the dog was adopted by its owner from a nearby animal hospital and was left unsupervised on the sidewalk.
The dog was on a leash tied to a railing, but had apparently lashed out at several pedestrians who walked past it. One passerby was bitten by the unsupervised dog, Sixth Tone reported.
In a statement provided by the police department and posted on Weibo, the officers dispatched to the scene tried to locate the owner of the dog but they were not successful, as translated by Shanghaiist. The canine also didn’t have identifying markers or evidence that it had previously gone through rabies vaccination.
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Under the city’s ordinance, dogs who are left unsupervised, especially without ID tags, are considered wild. Police would then have to put them down if necessary.
In this case, however, the police did not have tranquilizers when they arrived at the scene, and using their pistol was not part of the option as it could injure a pedestrian if it ricocheted and hit someone.
After the video went viral, animal welfare groups conducted a manhunt for the officer’s name, and they eventually found his personal information. He received several threatening messages, and on Monday, someone reportedly left a funeral wreath in front of his home.
After the horrible incident, citizens flocked to the scene where the dog was beaten to death by the officer and lighted candles as well as offered flowers.
Meanwhile, Weibo users were not convinced by the police department’s statement. Some criticized the police officers’ actions, questioning why it’s necessary to kill the dog if it was already tied up, and instead, call a local animal protection group as they clear the area of bystanders and wait for them to arrive.
Featured Image via YouTube / TDTham