A video of a person abandoning a puppy in the middle of a busy road has gone viral in mainland China, sparking a heated debate about animal abuse and triggering a police search for the culprit.
In the video, taken by a dashcam of another car, posted on June 29, a driver opens a car door and drops a white puppy in the middle of traffic while idling between other cars on the road in Guangdong province, southern China.
The face of the pet owner cannot be seen in the clip.
The abandoned dog then jumps up and scratches the car door trying to get back into the vehicle through a window. After a few attempts, it is seen looking around in distress while trying to cross the road in the middle of busy traffic, with a heavy-duty truck following closely behind.
The person drives away with the puppy standing near the car.
The dog was soon rescued unharmed by a security guard from a nearby restaurant, according to a report by Guangdong Television on Tuesday.
“Many cars were stuck in traffic, and the dog was running back and forth looking for its owner,” the guard, surnamed Feng, explained. “I saved it so that it wouldn’t be hit by a car.”
Feng said someone came to him and asked to adopt the dog, but he declined the request as the person was not the original owner.
“I gave the dog to a friend who is a pet lover, and he bathed it and bought a lot of pet supplies for it,” he said.
Following the news, the local traffic police said they have been investigating the case of the driver disposing of the pet at will, causing a traffic jam.
The owner’s behaviour has enraged people online, with many accusing him of being “heartless”.
“Even if you don’t want it any more, you shouldn’t have left it in the middle of traffic,” someone said. “At the very least, you should leave it with a means of survival.”
Disturbingly, some people expressed sympathy for the owner and tried to justify the man’s behaviour by arguing that the dog may have done “bad things” and shared their own experiences.
One shared an unnerving anecdote: “I bought a Golden Retriever who barked randomly and pooped everywhere despite the fact that I patiently tried to train her. Then I didn’t give her special dog food, and I never bathed her again.”
“I finally sent her to the countryside, and when I saw her again, she was so thin and bony,” the person continued.
Despite the growing awareness of animal protection and thriving pet industry, China has a long history of animal cruelty and ignorance about animal needs. Stories of animal abuse have been reported frequently.
According to Animals Asia Foundation, a Hong Kong-based charity that works to end animal cruelty in Asia, it is estimated that 10 million dogs and four million cats are slaughtered for their meat in China each year, and abandonment is an even bigger problem.
Although it is not illegal for owners to abandon pets in China, growing consciousness about animal welfare has resulted in some improvements in animal abandonment regulations.
In 2020, Shanghai police handled the nation’s first case of pet abandonment, fining the owner 500 yuan (RM330) for abandoning her elderly dog due to its deteriorating health.
In 2021, Dai Junfeng, a Chinese lawmaker, proposed including pet abandonment in personal social credit records during China’s “Two Sessions” annual plenary for making national-level political decisions. – South China Morning Post