As far as ugly stories go, this is one of the ugliest.
A person in a front office position with a high-profile school in Beijing found himself witnessing the deadly beating of his own dog, in broad daylight, on the streets of Beijing on Saturday as he was taking the dog for a walk.
Known as “One-eyed Jack” (it was missing an eye already), the dog had been taken care of by Trevor Metz of renowned Beijing burger bar Plan B in Shuangjing for “three to four months”. Metz had already taken in a couple of other dogs – all with proper registration – so found a loving home for ol’ Jack.
That’s when the story took an ugly turn. I’ll let Jack’s owner explain what happened on Saturday, in his own words:
I’d taken the dog out early Saturday morning. I usually take him on a path in the compound where there’s some garden and space for him to do his business. I took him further this time because he hadn’t been out since the early evening on Friday. After about 10 minutes of walking, I spotted 3 guys by the roadside, who approached me and stopped me. Two of them were wearing Chengguan uniforms, and one was in plain clothes. One of them asked to see the dog’s registration photo ID card thing, and I told them I had only had him a very short time and that I was in the process of getting it. I offered to show them his vaccinations, and the info I’d gathered on registration.
He told me he didn’t care about any of that, and that if I didn’t have the ID card for him they were going to take him right now. You know the dog wasn’t keen on strange men, and he was getting fidgety. I insisted that it was all being done and that he was safe, vaccinated and always kept on the leash. He started to get angry with me and told me I was out of order. I’m not exactly a picture of calmness myself when faced with surly idiots who are wasting my time, and I argued back. He told me he was gonna get me in big trouble for not having the proper documents. I told him I was gonna walk on and there was nothing he could do while I was still getting my documents sorted. I started to walk forward, the dog growled at them and let out one bark. The guy pushed me back and one of the others grabbed the leash from me. They had some kind of baton with them and they whacked the dog over the head so hard he barely yelped, he just fell down. I protested and went to shield him but the other guy pushed me back while they beat the dog 3 more times. They bundled him into some black backpack, and got into an unmarked car (looked like one of the heiche cars, wasn’t an official chengguan car). They drove off and left me there.
I’m pretty sure at least two of them were a bit drunk. Not very much so, but they had the red-faced “I’ve had baijiu” faces. And as I say, one of them was in plain clothes, and the car was unmarked.
It all just happened so fast…it was a massive blur. It was also raining, cloudy, polluted and muggy out there, it was hard to see things going on. I was just left there shouting at them trying to get a better look at the car as it left. It was a horrifying experience in so many ways. I mean…they just bludgeoned the dog without any provocation, and they looked absolutely crazy. A fear gripped me as I worried if they were going to whack me next as well and leave me there. I’ve seen some pretty messed up things in my life overseas, but the way these bastards flaunted their authority, savagely killed an innocent, sweet and gentle animal and acted threateningly to me without provocation…it made my skin crawl.
After speaking with police on Saturday, they told me that there was nothing they would do about it because the dog is not a registered pet, and therefore not legally anyone’s property. As a stray, they claim to have no ability to pursue action for the dog. At this point I just felt utterly frustrated, defeated and helpless. I also was consumed with guilt and sorrow. I’d taken the dog in to protect him from this very fate as chengguan or police may have combed the area around Shuangjing [a neighbourhood in Beijing] for strays and found him out there in the art street and taken him away. I fed him, took care of him and had him vaccinated as part of a journey to legitimacy that would protect him from such a fate. He was the most loving, affectionate and sweet dog that I’ve ever known. I also had some interest expressed from friends in adopting him permanently from me. I feel awful that despite my best intentions, this unspeakable thing happened to him. Sometimes it just hits me again, flashbacks of thinking of the sight of him falling to the ground as that barbarian whacked him. It makes me cry, it makes me feel sick. It’s disturbing my sleep and the feeling doesn’t go away easily.
Beijing has been known to be tough on dogs, and several crackdowns on illegal dogs have been implemented over the years. But this… this is beyond the pale.
RIP Jack. You’ll be missed.
(Note: Jack’s owner’s name is withheld at his request.)
Photo: courtesy owner of One-Eyed Jack