A video of the beatings at an apartment complex in the city’s Pudong district was greeted with horror after it went viral on Chinese social media Wednesday.
The clip, which appears to have been filmed by a resident of a nearby building, shows the COVID-19 prevention worker – wearing head-to-toe protective gear – chasing a corgi down the street and hitting it three times with a shovel. Then the dog appears lying motionless.
In two photos posted online, Corgi dogs are seen running behind a bus that is said to be taking their owner to an isolation facility. Another picture shows his body being transported in a plastic bag.
The video and photos have been reposted and deleted by many users. CNN cannot determine the original uploader of the video.
The dog’s owner was in quarantine at the time of the attack, according to state-run China News Weekly, and the dog was released into the streets after he was unable to find anyone to look after the animal in his absence.
The magazine reported that the neighborhood committee allegedly refused to help care for the dog. The commission said it was concerned that a Corgi might also be infected.
“At that time, the workers did not take (the matter) into consideration very comprehensively. We will communicate with the owner and offer compensation later,” The commission said in response, according to China Weekly news.
CNN has made several attempts to contact the committee.
The incident was widely reported on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. One hashtag on this topic was viewed tens of millions of times before it was removed from heavy censorship location. The footage sparked shock and outrage, with many describing the dog’s killing as cruel and unnecessary.
And the National Health Commission of China stated that there is no evidence so far that people have been infected with the Covid virus from pets.
“What’s the point of compensation? This is life,” said a popular post on Weibo.
Another user wrote: “Pets are also family” – a sentiment echoed by many other people.
Some even crossed Something that was once considered unthinkable in the country: China’s fight against COVID-19 has gone too far.
We prefer to live with a virus
Throughout the epidemic, China has adhered to a zero-Covid-19 policy aimed at eliminating all clusters and chains of transmission through border controls, mass testing, quarantine and strict closures. It has at times resorted to extreme measures, including separating infected children from their parents and preventing residents from leaving their homes for weeks on end.
This policy was widely popular among the public, as many felt it was necessary to avoid the high death toll and economic collapses seen in other countries such as the United States or the United Kingdom.
This isn’t the first time a pet has been killed for fear of carrying the virus. Three cats met the same fate last September, and another corgi last November. However, at the time, reactions on social media were mixed – although some expressed sympathy and anger, others argued that killing the animals was necessary given the pandemic.
This time around, the reaction looks vastly different, with most comments online condemning the murder – perhaps a sign of the public’s impatience as living conditions deteriorate under lockdown.
Many Shanghai residents complained of not being able to access basic supplies such as food and medicine. Incidents have been reported of non-Covid patients with other emergencies dying before they can receive medical care. These frustrations have been compounded by mixed messages from the Shanghai government, which just two weeks ago insisted that there were no plans to lock down the city.
For some, the Corgi’s death was the last straw.
One Weibo user mocked the neighborhood committee’s response: “It’s been two years, and they still think (a corgi) has the virus. Are these people not from Earth?”
Another user put it more bluntly: “We’d rather live with a virus than live with this evil and perverted person.”
“Amateur organizer. Wannabe beer evangelist. General web fan. Certified internet ninja. Avid reader.”