A video clip of dead and starving Tibetan mastiffs abandoned in Hubei – and broadcast last Saturday – has attracted widespread sympathy and condemnation from Chinese internet users.
The video depicted the terrible plight of the dogs after their owner left them. It was broadcast on a news programme by Chinese Central Television on Monday.
Three mastiffs can be seen locked in a cage – two lying dead on the ground. A voiceover in the CCTV video said they had refused to eat food provided by strangers and starved to death waiting for their owner to return.
Only one dog in the video is alive. It was very weak and demoralised, but still able to eat.
According to the TV programme, their owner, surnamed Peng, rented a kennel in Huangshi in Hubei province, last May for the mastiffs. The lease expired last Sunday. The owner, on the run from his creditors. then abandoned the animals.
The programme said that five Tibetan mastiff puppies had also been foresaken. They were later adopted by other people. An elderly man, seen feeding the survivng dog on the video, said: “What a tragedy. The owner has no conscience.”
Animal experts say Tibetan mastiffs are famous for their loyality to owners. Adult dogs are reluctant to be re-housed and rarely eat food from strangers.
Many popular video websites have re-posted the original video  of the mastiffs. The dogs’ plight aroused an emotional reaction from some Chinese internet users.
Many online users noted that dogs had a special relationship with their owners as “man’s best friend” One blogger said: “Even best friends can turn against each other, but dogs never betray their owners.”
Another strongly denounced the dog owner. “Do not raise a dog if you can’t support it. And if you do, please be responsible.”
Tibetan mastiffs are popular pets with rich Chinese. Originally raised as guard dogs, they are known to fetch prices between a few thousand yuan for a pup, to tens of millions for high-quality breeds.