[Warning: this post contains content which may be upsetting to some readers]
In China, there are some people who consider dogs food, and others who consider dogs pets. While the latter are mostly middle-class residents of upper tier cities, they can also be found in rural farms and villages, even in Gongcheng, Guangxi, a notorious center for dog meat eating in China, made internationally-famous by the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival.
Dogs used for food have to come from somewhere but Gongcheng villagers are damned if they’re going to let it be their dogs. So when dog poachers and Gongcheng villagers clash, they clash pretty hard.
This past Sunday, two dog poachers caught by Gongcheng villagers were beaten and tied up. One of the poachers died as a result of the incident while the other was seriously injured. The surviving poacher was stripped to the midriff and photographed with a crossbow, a common weapon used to catch dogs.
The villagers were so enraged that they rubbed salt into the wounds of one of the suspects as can be seen in the photograph.
The dog poachers themselves are native to Guangxi, originating from Pingle County.
News sources have released conflicting reports about the villagers responsible. One report claimed three villagers turned themselves in to police, while another claims ten villagers have been arrested.
Although parts of China celebrate eating dogs as part of the local culture and traditional medicinal beliefs, where the dogs come from has been a hotly contested topic. Many critics allege most of the animals are strays taken off the streets, or stolen pets. And with Dongcheng villagers fiercely loyal and protective of their pets, violent conflicts between the villagers and dog poachers have resulted in injuries and even deaths over the years.
On April 12, 2014, a group of dog poachers were beaten when three dead dogs were discovered in a car nearby Gongcheng. On May 22 of 2013, at nearby Hongxing Village, two dog poachers were beaten with sticks and chains for half an hour, killing one of them.
And then on November 9, 2009 in Lingchuan County, 500 villagers from nearby towns joined together in a massive manhunt for three dog poachers. When caught, the three poachers were severely assaulted and two of them died.
Similar acts in defense of Fido have taken place in other parts of China as well. In Huiyang, Guangdong back in 2012, a mob of 300 villagers violently attacked two suspected dog poachers after a chaotic crime spree of multiple car jackings, killing one of the dog thieves.