Footage of health care workers killing a pet dog after its owners were sent into coronavirus quarantine has outraged social media users in China.
The video emerged as local authorities pursue the government's strict zero-case strategy.
The disturbing incident took place in Shangrao, Jiangxi province.
Health care workers strike corgi with crowbar
The video, captured on a security camera and shared online by the owner, shows a series of bangs startling the sleeping corgi out of its bed, broadcaster CNN reported.
Pandemic prevention officials in hazmat suits then enter the apartment. One of them hits the dog on the head with a crowbar.
The dog runs out of the room out of sight.
Local authorities in Xinzhou district, where the apartment complex is located, confirmed that the dog had been killed as part of disinfection measures.
It took place after the dog's owners were ordered to isolate themselves in a hotel after a COVID-19 case was discovered in their apartment compound.
Footage stirs outcry, prompts action
The video of the killing, shared last week, prompted a wave of anger against the way authorities have treated animals while enforcing COVID-19 prevention rules.
"Even if they thought the doggy was a threat or it was carrying the virus, they should at least have given it a test first," the corgi's owner, who identified herself only as Ms. Fu, told a Shanghai TV station.
"If a government that claims to serve the people enforces the law so brutally, can the government still be believed?" one user asked on the Chinese social media platform Weibo.
State-run broadcaster CCTV weighed in on Monday. It urged people "not to treat others' pets as livestock" and called for more humane and flexible treatment of pets during mandatory quarantines.
The workers have been "reprimanded and educated" and removed from their posts, the local government said.
The outcry highlighted changing attitudes toward dog-ownership in China. Denounced by Communist China's founder Mao Zedong as bourgeois, the country's pet population has ballooned in recent years.
kmm/wd (dpa, AFP)