Many legal issues surrounding death of a dog in Sichuan
HE XINGLI, a 34-year-old in Chengdu, Sichuan province, found a dog one month ago. Yet when the owner came to get the dog back, He threatened to kill the dog if the owner did not give her money . When the police were called, He reportedly killed the dog by throwing it off the building. Beijing News invited a lawyer to analyze the legal issues behind the incident:
Having already intimidated the dog’s owner with WeChat messages suggesting she have sexual relations with her “brother”, when the dog owner came to collect the dog, He refused to give the animal back unless she was given some money for feeding the dog. Many people have asked whether He was extorting money from the owner in this way.
According to the law, He is obliged to return the dog, but she also has the right to ask for some money to cover the dog’s living costs, but the money should be within a reasonable limit and should not be given under duress. In this case, especially, He should not be considered trying to extort money from the dog’s owner because she did not name an amount. However, the police should investigate the dog owner’s claim she felt threatened by the WeChat messages to see if they broke the law.
Some netizens said He has apologized, but she should compensate the owner for her loss, which was the result of her actions.
If He killed the dog intentionally and the dog was purchased for more than 5,000 yuan ($773.9), she could be charged with the crime of intentionally damaging another person’s property. The dog was a Corgi, and these generally sell for more than 5,000 yuan so that is a possibility.
Even if the dog was bought for less than 5,000 yuan, He broke the Public Order Management and Punishment Law by ruining another person’s property if she killed the dog intentionally. The legal penalty for that is 5 to 15 days detainment.
However, the law allows the police to negotiate a settlement between the two parties if the case is not serious. The latest news updates suggest the dog fell from He’s home on the sixth floor when the police arrived, so that might be the way to resolve the dispute over the dog. The owner’s claim of being threatened is another matter.