Vietnamese health official resigns after backlash over drowning, burning of couple’s dogs due to COVID-19

Vietnamese health official resigns after backlash over drowning, burning of couple’s dogs due to COVID-19Vietnamese health official resigns after backlash over drowning, burning of couple’s dogs due to COVID-19
A health official in Vietnam, who allegedly led the slaughter of COVID-19 patients’ pets
Public outcry: Dr. Do Kim Chi, head of the medical station at the Khanh Hung Commune in Tran Van Thoi District, Ca Mau province, sparked heavy criticism for deciding to cull 15 dogs and one cat owned by a married couple who tested positive for COVID-19 last weekend, reported Tuoi Tre News
  • Tran Van Thoi District Chairman Tran Tan Cong said Dr. Chi submitted her resignation after getting berated with comments on social media. 
  • The barrage of negative comments, which called the decision “unscientific” and “too cruel,” became too stressful for Dr. Chi, who has a history of heart disease and hypertension. 
  • With the province’s limited COVID-19 response capacity, Chairman Cong expressed concern that Dr. Chi’s resignation could affect their local pandemic control efforts. 
  • The health official has since been urged to stay at her post until their province finishes its vaccination drive.
  • According to Chairman Cong, the district’s current priority is to protect the health and lives of local residents, which was reflected in Dr. Chi’s decision to slaughter the pets.
Feel-good story turned nightmare: Last Friday, Vietnamese social media users became enamored by Pham Minh Hung’s family after images of their 17 dogs and one cat riding their old scooters emerged online, VICE reported.
  • Videos showed Hung’s pets, which he and his wife, Nguyen Duy Khanh, considered as their own children, saddled up on the scooters along with their belongings as they prepared to travel to Ca Mau, his wife’s home province.
  • After traveling 186 miles, they arrived in Ca Mau, where they were brought to a quarantine center along with their pets. It was later discovered that the couple and one of the dogs tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • The next day, Vietnamese authorities killed all of the couple’s pets except two, which were reportedly given away during their journey.
  • Citing witnesses, Hung’s wife told VICE, “Two men put my dogs in bags, submerged them in water and then threw them in the fire to burn.” 
  • Grieving their loss, Hung said, “There’s nothing that can describe these feelings. I’m always thinking about the kids. Even when eating and sleeping, I think about them all the time.”
  • Vietnamese social media users condemned the killings as graphic videos emerged online showing the authorities laughing as they bludgeoned the animals to death.
  • Many users also offered tribute to the lost pets and consoled the grieving family with messages and artwork. 
Image via Facebook
Image via Facebook
Image via Facebook
Amid the outrage across social media, Tran Van Thoi District’s administration stood by Dr. Chi’s decision, claiming that the killing was necessary as local residents and people at the facility were worried about the potential high risk of viral transmission from the dogs.
Featured Image via Phạm Thái Thanh Xuân
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