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China: Around The Nation

Town in southwest China culls all dogs after woman dies from rabies

Victim was a dentist who was bitten by her pet husky, but refused treatment fearing treatment would affect her pregnancy, according to news report

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 February, 2017, 2:54pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 February, 2017, 2:54pm

A small town in Meishan city, Sichuan culled more than 240 dogs after a woman died from a bite, the West China City Daily reports.

The slaughter started on Thursday, a day after it was confirmed that the victim died from rabies, authorities of Xiuwen town said.

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Law enforcement officers in gloves beat the dogs to death with long poles. The animals’ bodies were transported to disposal site by government staff wearing face masks.

The woman, a dentist, was bitten by her own pet Husky in July and died in January. She refused to go to hospital because the dog had been vaccinated. She also feared the treatment might affect her pregnancy.

The township government said three people have died from rabies in the past eight years. Because about 20 per cent of vaccinated dogs can still carry the rabies virus, officials decided to cull the entire canine population within 3km of the town.

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Rabies is carried mainly by wild and domesticated carnivores and bats. Exposure to rabid dogs is still the cause of more than 90 per cent of human exposures to the virus and more than 99 per cent of human deaths worldwide, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Some animal rights experts voiced concern to the indiscriminative cull. The incident prompted discussions on mainland social media.