Police in Ben Tre Province in southern Vietnam on Wednesday arrested three men after they shot a stun gun at police officers in an attempt to flee with 12 dead dogs.
A police statement said they chased after Tran Thanh Bang, 23, Truong Van Nghia, 36 and Vo Minh Bang, 25, early in the morning after noticing them carrying the large number of dogs on two motorbikes.
The dogs weighed around 150 kilograms in total and the trio said they were hired to carry them to customers in the neighboring Tien Giang Province for a transport fee of VND200,000, or less than $10.
But police suspected that they had stolen the dogs themselves because dogs thieves in Vietnam often use stun guns to catch dogs. No one was injured.
Vietnam is believed to be the second biggest dog meat consumer in the world, with an estimated five million dogs killed and eaten every year. The figure in China is around 20 million.
Two stun guns Ben Tre police seized from three men who were carrying 12 dead dogs on January 6, 2016. Photo credit: Quang Duy/Tuoi Tre
The dog meat trade has been the target of strong international criticism as most of the dogs are pets stolen from families and usually tortured and killed in painful ways.
Usually only dog thieves are punished, with a fine. They will only face criminal charges if the stolen dog’s value is more than VND2 million, around US$100.
In 2009 the Ho Chi Minh City Animal Health Agency urged the government to regulate the dog meat trade. But the national agency rejected the proposal, saying no other country does so.