Inner Mongolia authorities have denied allegations that they buried stray dogs alive but admitted that they dumped the dogs in a pit while looking for a place to house them.
The Alxa Left Banner urban management bureau said they have captured more than 90 stray dogs since they launched a campaign on April 21 to rid streets and neighborhoods of stray animals that could pose a threat to people's safety.
The campaign sparked an outrage among online animal lovers after the "Home for Stray Animals in Yinchuan" posted photos on Weibo of the deep pit where scores of dogs were thrown into and left to starve or die.
The non-government organization said the photo of the dogs inside the pit was taken by a woman who had gone looking for her pet.
It said the woman, along with her friends, found scores of dogs dumped inside the 6-meter-deep pit and called on volunteers to help rescue the dogs.
A report by CCTV said volunteers who responded to the call were able to rescue 20 of the dogs. When they returned the next day, however, the pit had been filled with soil, according to the report.
A follow-up post on Weibo said volunteers were able to retrieve five more dogs from the covered pit that were still alive.
The Beijing Loving Animals Foundation, an animal rights group, also reported finding several dead bodies of dogs in the pit.
A personnel of the Alxa Left Banner urban management bureau earlier explained that they had kept the captured dogs at a leased yard.
But animal rights advocates who were monitoring the bureau's campaign against stray dogs found only around a dozen dogs in the leased yard, and that scores of other captured strays were unaccounted for.
As of Monday, the Inner Mongola local government was facing mounting pressure from netizens to explain their cruelty against the animals.
The Weibo photo of the dumpsite with the stray dogs had been shared 18,000 times by Sunday, angering animal lovers across the country who called the act shameful and inhumane.
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