On Saturday, a woman was walking her dog - a small white animal
she'd had for a long time - in a Yunnan Province alley.
Several men approached, talked her into handing them the leash
and then beat the dog to death as the owner looked on in
The killing was only a small part of a campaign by Mouding
County government officials to slaughter 50,000 canines between
July 25 and Sunday, local media reported.
The campaign was touched off by reports that at least three
people had died recently in the county from rabies and many others
had been bitten.
On Saturday, officials said that 90 percent of the dogs had been
killed, and they expected to finish their work on Sunday.
Witnesses indicated the slaughter was often carried with the
sort of dramatic elements found in a grade-B horror film.
Around midnight, shadows would flash along the walls of homes as
men carrying clubs made noises to set the village dogs barking.
Homing in on the sounds, the men would find their quarries, and the
barks would be replaced by shrill yelps as the animals were
Only military dogs guarding an ammunition storehouse and police
dogs were allowed to survive.
The campaign followed a series of human and livestock deaths and
injuries from dog attacks.
This year, 360 of the county's 200,000 people reportedly
suffered dog bites. Five were hospitalized since July 20 alone.
Since April, three people died of rabies in the county, one a
Two cows and three pigs were also found dead after dog
Health authorities began to vaccinate the county's canines, but
as the dog attacks increased, government officials decided they
needed to take more drastic action.
To ensure public safety, the county government decided to kill
all dogs. They set up a task force, led by the director of the
public security bureau, to take charge of the campaign.
Authorities first encouraged dog owners to kill their own pets,
offering a 5 yuan incentive (US$62 cents), and then sent in the
task force to finish those that escaped the first-round
The midnight raids were carried out by the task force
According to Chinese media reports, several methods were used to
kill the dogs, including clubbing, hanging, electrocution and
Although most villagers said they understood the necessity for
campaign, others thought it was brutal - and unnecessary. About
4,000 dogs in the county had been vaccinated against rabies.
A local veterinary authority official surnamed Liang explained
that only 85 percent of the vaccinations would be effective,
"With the aim to keep this horrible disease from people, we
decided to kill the dogs," Xinhua news agency quoted Li Haibo,
spokesman for the county government, as saying.
(Shanghai Daily August 1, 2006)