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Policeman beats golden retriever to death in public

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A shocking video went viral on the Chinese internet over the New Year weekend showing a man beating a golden retriever to death with a club on a public street in Changsha, Hunan Province. The abuse went on for almost three hours before the dog died. The abuser was later identified as a police officer in the city’s Tianxin District, who claimed that he decided to kill the dog after receiving reports that it had bitten people.

In the extremely disturbing video (Warning: We mean “extremely disturbing”), the terrified golden retriever is chained to a road barrier and repeatedly beaten by the policeman. According to some witnesses, a few pedestrians attempted to stop the beating, but the police officer paid them no heed.

After the footage circulated on Chinese social media and ignited a wave of condemnation, the district’s police authority released a statement (in Chinese) on its official Weibo account, saying that the dog had attacked four people before the policeman arrived at the scene. When the dog’s owner could not be found, the police officer chose to kill it to “prevent it from attacking more people.” He did not have a tranquilizer gun or other suitable weapon, so he used a wooden club. The statement also confirms the legal validity of the policeman’s behavior by quoting the city’s dog laws: “Stray dogs without owners or valid licenses are subjected to killing by the police,” the regulation reads.

Many dog lovers were not satisfied with the statement. They said it was inappropriate to brutally kill a dog in public, and that the police officer should have tried harder to find the dog’s owner.

Many internet users were so furious at the policeman that they launched a crowdsourced investigation. This ended in the publication of a man’s phone number and home address. Sina Video reports that the man was disturbed by thousands of insulting and threatening texts, and that some sympathizers even went to his home to express their anger, although the man had nothing to do with the case. In the face of mounting harassment, the man took to Weibo (in Chinese) to clarify that he was not involved in the case.


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Jiayun Feng

Jiayun was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allowed her to pursue a journalism career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.