Cou­ple save hun­gry dog; po­lice call it theft

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - 4 China - By MA ZHENHUAN in Hangzhou mazhen­huan@ chi­

The adop­tion of an ema­ci­ated, crip­pled po­lice dog in Jin­hua, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, has stirred heated on­line de­bate, gen­er­at­ing calls for clar­i­fi­ca­tion about what can be done with stray an­i­mals and about the proper care of dogs work­ing for po­lice and fire­fight­ers, or as guide dogs.

A woman iden­ti­fied as Ying, a res­i­dent in Jin­hua, re­cently com­plained on so­cial me­dia that she and her hus­band had

yuan been “mis­tak­enly in­ter­ro­gated” by the po­lice af­ter the cou­ple adopted a home­less dog on the street in June.

“We picked up the dog, a slightly crip­pled, ema­ci­ated Ger­man shep­herd, when it was search­ing for food in the garbage near the Duohu po­lice sta­tion,” Ying said. “Feel­ing sorry for the dog, we brought it home and found no in­for­ma­tion on the col­lar on its neck.”

Af­ter sev­eral days, lo­cal po­lice of­fi­cers sum­moned and in­ter­ro­gated the cou­ple on sus­pi­cion of theft, as the an­i­mal is a po­lice dog from the sta­tion, val­ued at 15,000 yuan ($2,160).

They were re­leased on a 5,000 yuan bail, pend­ing fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

In re­sponse, the po­lice is­sued a state­ment say­ing the dog was used for daily se­cu­rity pa­trols, and that the cou­ple is sus­pected of “steal­ing the valu­able dog on the street”.

Ying called on the po­lice to re­lease the sur­veil­lance video to clar­ify whether what they did should be de­fined as theft.

Yang Wen­zhan, a lawyer at Bei­jing Zhong­dun Law Of­fice, said he is in­clined to define the cou­ple’s ac­tion as sal­va­tion, rather than theft.

“The dog was found out­side the con­trol area of the po­lice sta­tion. It was free rang­ing, with no­body look­ing af­ter it. So the cou­ple’s ac­tion should not be clas­si­fied as theft,” Yang said.

He also called on the po­lice to take bet­ter care of their dogs.

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