Vietnamese couple on dog adoption spree after authorities shoot down their pets

LONG AN PROVINCE, Vietnam, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Nguyen Thi Chi Em’s face is red with laughter as she plays with seven rescue dogs, rolling with them on the living room floor under the beaming gaze of her husband.

The Vietnamese couple took in the dogs after learning in October that authorities had shot their previous group of 15 while they were in quarantine recovering from COVID-19.

The story captured the hearts of Vietnamese, many of whom expressed their outrage against the authorities online and collected donations for the couple.

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According to local media, authorities said they put the animals down over fears the dogs could transmit the coronavirus from their owners to others.

The couple say they spend most of their income paying slaughterhouses and restaurants to spare the dogs, and buying food and medicine for their pets.

Eating dog meat is legal in Vietnam, but some have called for the practice to be banned.

Between cooking the dogs’ meals, training and grooming them, dressing them in t-shirts and skirts, and transporting them on motorcycle trips to the market, the couple says the dogs have enriched their lives.

“They are our joy and comfort. Before, it was just my wife and I,” said Pham Minh Hung, 50, who works in construction.

Talking about his deceased pets quickly brings Em to tears.

“I was sad and cried a lot because I missed the other dogs, so my husband comforted me and told me we would raise more puppies,” she said as she cradled a puppy tanned with droopy ears.

The couple plan to adopt eight more puppies and Em says she would do anything to protect them.

“We would hide in the jungle if it could save them,” she told Reuters. “I won’t let them be killed again because I can’t go through such grief a second time.”

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Written by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Karishma Singh

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