On 3 July 2023, at 12:35, CCTV1’s “Today’s Speech” featured a report on several cases of dog thefts, where dog thieves shot dogs with poisoned darts and then put them on a motorbike to escape. The dog owner was intercepted and rushed to the scene. An old lady over 70 years old confronted the dog thieves regardless of her own safety. The old lady shouted angrily at the dog thief and tried to make a phone call to the police. The dog thief pushed the old lady off the field and ran away.
The dog thieves were finally brought to justice after more than 50 hours of fierce fighting and meticulous investigation and careful deployment by the local public security police. At the end of the programme, Professor Chang Jiwen called for the enactment of an anti-animal cruelty law and an animal protection law in China, suggesting that dogs and cats are inedible species. Professor Chang also said, “Dog stealing not only disrupts public order, but also hurts other people’s feelings, and more critically, it is likely to cause serious harm to food safety. So on the one hand, we need to crack down on this kind of behaviour, and on the other hand, we should step up market surveillance to eliminate this kind of hidden danger.”
This is perfectly in line with the advocacy of the World Dog Alliance’s (WDA) whitepaper.
On 23 March and 15 April 2023, the WDA sent two letters to the relevant departments of the Central Government calling for strict punishment of dog theft. 119 registered letters were sent to the National People’s Congress (NPC), the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and other relevant departments, and an excerpt of the key points in the “White Paper on the Punishment of Stolen Dogs,” written and compiled by the WDA, was attached. Coincidentally, CCTV’s “Today’s Speech” used the case from the WDA’s first letter.
As early as in 2018, the WDA has been concerned about the rampant activities of dog poisons and thefts, and the serious harm brought to the society by the black dog meat industry chain of theft, robbery, poisoning and killing. In order to arouse the public’s attention to the problem of dog thefts, the WDA organised a team to write and collate and edit the “White Paper on the Severe Punishment of Stolen Dogs” in October 2018, after years of investigation, research and data collection.
The WDA has continued to conduct in-depth investigations and analyses of the black industrial chain of dog and cat meat for many years, why is this vicious industrial chain repeatedly prohibited and repeatedly cut? The reason is that, on the one hand, the attraction of high profits, no cost trading, a dog to sell to the dog meat market net profit of several hundred dollars. On the other hand, the cost of violating the law is extremely low, grass-roots police officers have gone to great lengths to catch the dog thieves, but at most they can only detain them and impose a fine (which is negligible compared to the income they earn). After a certain period of time, the dog thieves can go back to their old business and become rich again.
This is also evidenced by the final capture of the criminal in the “Today’s Story” column. The dog thief was sentenced to six months in prison in 2019 for stealing a dog, and was administratively detained by the public security authorities for stealing a dog in 2020, making it third time in prison. He was sentenced to three years and ten months in prison and fined 7,000 yuan.
The WDA believes that the illegal and criminal behaviour of dog poisons and thefts should not only be dealt with severely, but more importantly, “to treat the symptoms but also the root causes”, and to cut off the chain of evils at the source, by explicitly legislating against the consumption of dogs and cats on the one hand, and amending the law to severely punish dog thefts on the other hand. Only by stepping up the fight against dog theft can we deter illegal behaviour.