Chinese social media is awash with claims that authorities are killing the pets of COVID-19 patients.
China is trying to squash multiple new COVID-19 outbreaks and is imposing lockdowns again.
On Saturday, a Chinese city apologized for an employee who beat a dog to death while the owner was quarantining.
A Chinese city apologized and removed an employee from his post after he beat a dog to death while the owner was quarantining in a hotel with COVID-19.
China is battling flare-ups of COVID-19 cases, and its social media is awash with claims that some city authorities have turned to killing the pets of those who test positive to ensure the virus doesn't spread further.
Under Chinese law, animals infected with viruses can be killed during pandemics, but the law only extends to livestock, the South China Morning Post reported. However, the state-run Global Times newspaper said last month that it was permissible to slaughter domestic animals.
Health authorities like the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it is very rare for pet animals to infect humans with COVID-19.
On Friday, a woman in Shangrao in the eastern Jiangxi province, wrote on Weibo that city workers entered her apartment while she was quarantining in a hotel with COVID-19 and beat her dog to death.
A video purportedly of the incident, which has been reviewed by Insider, circulated widely on social media over the weekend. The footage, which appeared to be from a security camera inside the woman's home, showed two people wearing protective equipment repeatedly beating a small dog with a metal bar.
In a Weibo post published Saturday night, the official account for Shangrao city said that the unnamed employee had been removed fom his post and issued an apology to the dog owner.
The city also apologized for not telling them woman of its decision to kill the dog, and said that workers discovered the dog when they entered the apartment to disinfect it.
Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, wrote in a Sunday op-ed that the killing was deplorable, but that it indicates just how seriously China is still taking COVID-19.
"This specific video shows only one of countless scenes of the intense fight against the virus in Xinzhou," Hu wrote, referring to the district the woman lived in. "We should be able to review at the same time the bigger picture of the local COVID-19 battle, and understand that a bitter fight is going on there."
It is not the first time that Chinese citizens have claimed that their pets were killed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In late September, authorities in Harbin, northern China, killed three cats that had tested positive for COVID-19, the South China Morning Post reported. The cats belonged to a woman who had tested positive for COVID-19 on September 21, the Post said.
According to the Post, a community worker told local media: "If the animal tests positive, then they cannot move back, and the whole residential area could not move back, the outbreak will never end."
In November, another woman in the city of Chengdu wrote on the Xiaohongshu social media platform that her cats were killed after she was moved into quarantine for COVID-19, the Post reported.
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