The killing of a corgi named Chaofen by epidemic prevention workers disinfecting an apartment linked to a COVID outbreak has provoked a national outcry across China. Captured on security footage shared by the dog’s owner, who was quarantined in a nearby hotel, two workers, decked out in full hazmat suits, beat the corgi with an iron bar. The owner, identified only by the surname Fu, said she witnessed the Friday attack live, and used a home speaker to beg the workers to leave her pet alone. “The dog tried to avoid the beating and fled into the bedroom and therefore it wasn’t recorded by surveillance camera, but [I] could hear faint wails,” she wrote in a now-deleted social media post, according to CNN. The workers emerged from the room with a yellow plastic bag, she added.
The dog’s death sparked debate on Chinese social media about the government’s uncompromising anti-pandemic regulations, which have included prior instances of pet euthanization. Local authorities in the Xinzhou district confirmed Chaofen had been killed as a “biosafety disposal” measure. Pet owners in the area were not allowed to bring their animals with them into quarantine, and Fu said that she had been repeatedly assured her dog would not be harmed or taken away.