September 16, 2019 | 02:09 pm GMT+7
Dogs stolen by a dog theft gang in Thanh Hoa Province are seized by police, September 15, 2019. Photo courtesy of Thanh Hoa Police.
Police in the central province of Thanh Hoa detained 10 people Sunday after busting a gang of dog thieves, saving 40 dogs they had stolen.
Le Thi Phuong, 34, Tran Van Thang, 33, and Lai Khac Hung, 38, were identified as the leaders of the gang that carried out dozens of thefts every night.
According to the investigation, the gang, carrying stun guns and other sharp weapons rode motorbikes through residential areas at midnight and shot dogs roaming free on the street.
In the small hours on Sunday, some police officers followed the gang and swooped down on them.
Police seized 40 stolen dogs from the gang and announced their find, asking families with stolen pets to take them home.
Dog theft is rarely treated as a criminal offense in Vietnam unless the canines are valued at more than VND2 million ($86).
There has been a public outcry against dog stealing and several lynchings of suspected thieves.
Vietnam consumes an estimated five million dogs a year, second only to China’s 20 million.
Many of the dogs that make it to the frying pan are stolen pets sold to small, unregulated abattoirs and killed in brutal ways.
Last year, the Hanoi People’s Committee called on residents stop eating cats and dogs saying the practice was undermining the capital city’s image in the eyes of international tourists and expats.
The Food Safety Management Board of HCMC made a similar call recently.
Hanoi gets into a cat and dog fight