Hundred of stray dogs were reportedly buried alive in Alxa league, Inner Mongolia autonomous region on Wednesday. A non-government organization uncovered the pit while searching for a lost dog, reports the offical news agency Xinhua.
The organization Home for Stray Animals in Yinchuan found the living dogs in a 5 to 6 meter-deep pit near Wuba Expressway. A woman surnamed Tan, who photographed the scene, and five other friends from the organization saved as many as 20 by pulling them out with ropes. When they returned at 2am Thursday, the pit had been filled and only a few dogs could be seen scrambling about. A number of bodies had been retrieved from the filled pit by 6pm Friday.
The incident triggered public outrage and a post regarding the incident was forwarded more than 18,000 times on the web. The Beijing-based organization wrote to local government demanding an intervention.
The local urban management office denied that the dogs had been buried alive. The animals, they claimed, had only been placed in a pit near a garbage dump temporarily because residents complained that they were biting people and their livestock, causing traffic accidents and transmitting diseases. They will be relocated to a proper place when the administration finds somewhere to rent, the office said.
Officials only found 17 dogs, of which six had died, when they revisited the pit after hearing of the rescuers. The surviving dogs have been moved to a factory yard.
Incidents of animal abuse are starting to make headlines and cause public outcry in China. Dozens of cats were killed and skinned in Beijing in May last year, while in October there was an outcry when dozens of cats were poisoned in the southern city of Nanning.