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Dog killers sentenced to prison

By Zheng Jinran in Beijing and Feng Zhiwei in Changsha | China Daily | Updated: 2014-05-15 07:10

Eleven people were sentenced to prison for selling the meat of nearly 1,000 dogs killed by poisoning, a court in Changde, Hunan province, said.

"The three main defendants were sentenced to five and a half to seven years in prison and all of them got huge fines for selling poisonous and harmful food," Shen Qiqin, the judge who heard the case in the People's Court of Dingcheng district, said on Wednesday.

Five people involved in the dog meat scheme were excluded from this trial because they are involved in other cases, he said.

The group started killing dogs in March 2013 using bows with poison darts that were coated with a highly toxic chemical. They usually targeted the animals in the early morning hours or in quiet places. When they were observed, they threatened villagers with the darts.

They usually worked in pairs using a motorcycle: one drove and the other shot the dogs. The whole process, from spotting a dog to carrying away its carcass, only took 15 seconds, Hong Zhenkun, the head of public security bureau of Dingcheng district of Changde, was quoted as saying by Rednet, a local news website.

The individuals stored 974 dog carcasses, weighing around 12 tons, in a freezer, planning to sell them during the winter, which is the peak time for the consumption of dog meat.

A worker at the bureau of animal inspection and quarantine in Dingcheng district provided a pass card that allowed the meat to be sold at markets.

In July, the police arrested all 16 members of the group and seized the frozen meat, valued at 300,000 yuan ($48,000). Meat that had already been sold was retrieved.

The poison used on the dogs was identified as succinylcholine chloride, a toxin that is forbidden by food laws. Experts said eating large amounts of the affected meat could harm a human.

Similar cases in which people have killed dogs with toxins or other methods have been exposed recently. Two men in Tongling, Anhui province, were arrested in January and accused of poisoning and selling hundreds of dogs.

Jia Zili, an expert in animal welfare at the Chinese Veterinary Medical Association, said it's not easy to stop all killings of dogs because of the constant demand for their meat, but it's crucial to stop the violent and illegal killings.

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