The Vietnamese couple whose 13 dogs were burned alive over Covid-19

Cu Chi, Vietnam, Mar 23 (EFE).- After authorities sacrificed their 13 dogs for fear they could spread Covid-19, Vietnamese couple Pham Minh Hung and Nguyen Thi Chi Em tried to overcome the trauma by adopting new puppies, toward whose care they spend a good part of their meager income.

In October Hung and Em, married 20 years, traveled the nearly 300 kilometers that separate the provinces of Long An and Ca Mau, in southern Vietnam, on their dilapidated motorcycle with their dogs, in search of work. When they arrived, they tested positive for Covid-19 and were admitted to hospital.

“At first I asked a police officer if the dogs could stay in a quarantine center and he said yes, but a doctor from the town said they could spread the disease and they wouldn’t let us,” Hung, the husband, told EFE in the modest room he rents with his wife and their dogs in Cu Chi, north of Ho Chi Minh City.

In the hospital, after leaving the 13 dogs with a veterinarian, they were told the doctor had asked authorities to euthanize the animals.

“They burned them alive,” said Hung, 50, still feeling a mixture of anger and sadness, adding that he recalls the helplessness they felt at not being able to come out of their quarantine to rescue them.

When the episode occurred, Vietnam was still trying to stop the spread of Covid-19 with strict confinements that have been relaxed in recent months due to the high vaccination rate, with more than 90 percent of the population having at least two vaccines.

The story caused a lot of controversy in the country after spreading through the social network Tik Tok and many media outlets, prompting a call to end animal sacrifice to prevent the coronavirus pandemic. The initiative obtained 150,000 signatures.

In addition, the obvious poverty in which the couple lived generated a wave of generosity and they received donations worth 120 million dong ($ 5,200.) They used this to pay off old debts, buy dogs that were going to be euthanized in canine meat restaurants, medicine and rice for the most needy neighbors of their town.

Some of the dogs they bought from the restaurants and others they were given as gifts are part of the new family they have formed since then: six dogs with which they have moved to Cu Chi in search of job opportunities in construction, Hung’s profession.

“When we travel, two dogs go ahead on the motorcycle, one on top of me and three in a small cage. They like it, they are used to it,” said Em, who had remained silent with a rueful expression while her husband spoke about their previous pets. EFE


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