Eight restaurant workers have been arrested after assaulting police officers who were investigating claims that the eatery was cooking and serving stolen pet dogs.
The restaurant, on Hongmei Road South, near the intersection with Jianxin Road in Minhang District, had been protested by animal rights activists after a pet owner accused the owners online on refusing to return the family’s lost dog. The accuser said several witnesses had seen the dog at the restaurant.
When police arrived at the scene, restaurant workers apparently decided that the best way to prove their innocence was to attack the police, and were promptly arrested for doing so. With the staff detained, police and activists entered the restaurant and discovered three dogs in cages, which workers claim they had raised themselves, but that activists claim included the missing dog which had been the instigation for the protests.
The restaurant owners deny killing dogs or serving dog meat. Chinese restaurants can legally serve dog, but the meat must be butchered at licensed producers. Police are continuing to investigate.
The consumption of dog meat in China, while not as widespread as it was, is still fairly common, particularly in winter. But the tide is certainly turning against the practice. In January, 1,300 dogs were rescued by animal rights activists in Chongqing, in the largest of a number of similar rescues of dogs intended for restaurants. In Shanghai in July, a man was killed trying to stop a dog-meat dealer killing strays. Draft legislation was proposed in 2010 to ban the consumption of dog and cat meat, but this has yet to be adopted.