Police in Nghe An Province have arrested two men who’d stolen at least 11 canines before they were caught.
The duo are being held under the charge of “stealing property,” a crime punishable by up to three years in prison and for “resisting officials in the performance of their duties,” which carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison under Vietnam’s Penal Code, police said Friday.
Some police officers on a patrol Wednesday noticed the pair driving around a commune in Nghi Loc District and acting in a suspicious manner.
When they asked the duo to stop for a check, the men refused to comply and tried to escape. One of the thieves made a futile attempt to resist the police officers with a knife.
Two stolen dogs weighing around 35 kilograms, six pieces of poisoned meat used to kill the dogs and a sharp knife were seized from the pair.
Le Viet Dat, 23, and Dang Ba Dat, 24, admitted that they’d stolen 11 dogs earlier.
Dog theft is rarely treated as a criminal offense in Vietnam. Stolen animals have to be valued at more than VND2 million ($86) for stricter action to be taken.
Over the last two decades, however, there has been a public outcry against dog stealing and suspected thieves have been lynched by angry mobs.
Vietnam consumes an estimated five million dogs a year, second only to China’s 20 million.
Many of the dogs that make it to the frying pan are stolen pets sold to small, unregulated abattoirs.
Recently, the Hanoi People’s Committee called on residents to stop eating cat and dog meat, saying this reflected badly on the capital city in foreigners’ eyes. The proposal has received mixed reactions from the public.