Anger has been sparked on Chinese social media after a woman claimed her dog was beaten and killed by a health worker while away in COVID quarantine.
The allegation was published on the Chinese social media site Weibo by a woman who was a resident of the Golden Phoenix Garden community in the city of Shangrao, Jiangxi province.
Due to a COVID outbreak in the area, residents have been quarantined while their apartments are being disinfected.
A woman who was quarantined at a hotel said that when anti-epidemic workers entered her apartment, they encountered her pet dog, who was then killed without her consent.
The incident was allegedly captured with a security camera inside her apartment. The footage shows the dog being hit and killed by one of the workers using a sort of bar, according to The Guardian newspaper, which triggered setbacks from Weibo users.
On November 13, the local district appeared to acknowledge the incident in a statement sent to Weibo, but claimed the dog had been killed through “harmless disposal”.
It further states that the worker has since apologized to the woman and has been removed from their post, according to the What’s On Weibo website.
The incident has garnered considerable attention on social media on Weibo, with related hashtags gathering tens of thousands of views.
A user wrote according to What’s On Weibo: “This dog was not even confirmed to have COVID-19. Nevertheless, they just killed him. How can you be so cruel?”
It is not clear what happened to the woman’s original post on social media.
The case comes just weeks after Chinese authorities in the town of Harbin killed three pet cats said to have tested positive for coronavirus, which in turn sparked backlash online.
In September, Reuters reported, citing state-sponsored Beijing News, that the cat’s owner had tested positive for COVID before her cats were euthanized due to concerns they could leave viral traces.
While it is known that it is possible for humans to infect pets with COVID-19 in some situations, such as close contact, the risk of a pet infecting a human is considered low, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“Although we know that certain bacteria and fungi can be carried on fur and hair, there is no evidence that viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread to humans from pet skin, fur or hair,” says the agency. notes in a COVID FAQ on its website.