A dog thief in China was tied to a gate and beaten by angry villagers after she was caught red-handed poisoning and killing a dog for the illegal dog meat trade.
The residents are said to have seen her using a deadly dart on a local pet. The woman was caught and tied to a school gate and then beaten with a long stick.
A man is seen hitting her repeatedly with the branch as she bends over.
Later, the outraged villagers later draped the dead dog over her shoulders as an act of public shaming and filmed the incident on video.
The disturbing footage was posted on Youku, a popular video platform in China.
The video does not make it clear where or when the incident occurred, the Daily Mail reported.
Poisoned darts are the weapon of choice for criminals involved in the illegal dog meat trade. Dogs, whether strays or people’s pets, are being killed and then sold to dog meat restaurants throughout Asia.
Some viewers commented that they are not in support of the viligante justice, saying it was not an effective means to punish dog thieves.
“We are living in a modern society now, we can’t just beat up a person for killing a dog in public,” Youku user ximenchuxue, wrote. “Beating a person is also breaking the law, he should have handed [the woman over] to the police.”
The incident comes shortly after news of a man running over a suspected dog killer in the Chinese city of Yangzhou.
Another user, xinzhongyoumeng, commented, “Can they settle the matter peacefully? Beating someone up has no difference than killing a dog!”
Chinese authorities have been increasingly cracking down on the illegal dog meat trade, arresting smugglers and gangs involved in selling and distributing the potentially toxic meat.
In 2016, Chansha city police arrested 24 individuals and seized nearly 9,000kg of dog meat, including 652 frozen dogs, 41 poison darts, five crossbows and eight packs of sodium cyanide.
More recently, police seized 200,000 poisoned darts from a gang in the eastern part of China.
Animal welfare groups such as Animals Asia are advising citizens to contact their local Food and Drug Administration and report restaurants that are suspected of potential breaches of the law.
In total, 78 restaurants were either closed or forced to stop selling dog meat in 2016 thanks to Animals Asia and local groups reporting them to the authorities.
Police have also issued warnings to local dog owners to keep their dogs safe and on leash, especially in winter months when demand for the meat rises.