TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese anti-pandemic workers in Guangdong Province beat a three-year-old dog named Snowball to death on Wednesday (March 2) while its owners were undergoing hotel quarantine.
On Friday (March 4), the owners of the Samoyed shared footage of their pet’s brutal killing in a post on Chinese social media platform Weibo, which had been shared over 100,000 times by Saturday afternoon (March 5), per WhatsonWeibo.
The post also included screenshots of the owner’s conversation with two anti-pandemic workers in which she had notified them about the dog before they arrived to disinfect her apartment. The workers were told which room Snowball was in and that the pooch was not aggressive and would not bite them.
This did not stop the pandemic workers from bludgeoning the dog to death with a bat, however.
The animal’s death was later confirmed in an official statement by the local Huizhou Propaganda Department. Authorities acknowledged the cruel manner in which it had been killed and said the two workers responsible had been suspended from their posts.
The statement said that Snowball was likely infected with COVID-19 since it had lived in the same apartment as the owner’s boyfriend (who had tested positive for the virus). The canine was not tested to verify this before its death though.
Many on Weibo were outraged at the news. Some reported that their own pets had become distressed by the audio of the footage.
“I couldn’t breathe when I clicked on the video, and Paipai immediately scurried up to me with his tail down when he heard the video,” wrote one netizen. “Dogs can empathize with other dogs. Paipai could hear that Snowball was in danger.”
Others called for a law against animal cruelty—which currently does not exist in China. Related tags soon vanished from the platform while local authorities froze the comments section for the post, which aggravated some netizens further: “What? You’re clamping down on this topic now? Do you think we’re idiots?” asked one.
Snowball’s death follows a similar incident in November in which a pet Corgi was beaten to death in Jiangxi Province. Responding to the online backlash at the time, local authorities claimed the dog had been dealt with through “harmless disposal” and asked netizens to be more lenient with anti-pandemic workers, who they suggested were overworked.