Planet China

A worrying new trend: Dognapping

As dog ownership grows in China a new business has emerged – kidnapping pets and holding them for ransom.

In many cases people simply pay up, desperate to have their pet returned.

A common threat is to sell it for meat if the owners don’t pay what the extortionist demands.

One young woman surnamed Wu from Chengdu was recently asked for Rmb10,000 ($1,582) for her kidnapped Corgi, named Lion, in order to see its safe return.

But Wu did not have the money so she posted everything she knew about the woman who was holding Lion to social media and asked others to help to track her down.

However, the story does not have a happy end, reports the Chengdu Business Daily. When Wu and two police went to the sixth-floor apartment where Lion was being held in late December, the kidnapper panicked.

To destroy the evidence of her crime she tried to let Lion loose by lowering him out of the window using a series of knotted clothes. But something went wrong – the rope got caught or was not long enough – and Lion fell to his death.

The heartbreaking video of Wu finding Lion unconscious and vets trying to resuscitate him went viral, with some calling for a law that would offer greater protection to pets and their owners.

In another case from January an alleged dognapper in Yangzhou was killed after a dog owner intervened to save his pet, running him over with his car. Some on dog forums have argued that the owner shouldn’t have to serve prison time. The case is currently going through the courts.

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