Police say a Ho Chi Minh City dog thief confessed, on Tuesday, to stealing 200 dogs in the past seven months with the help of a stun gun.
Police and residents in District 9 caught Pham Thanh Binh early the same day after he and his accomplice crashed in an attempted getaway, news website VnExpress reported.
Binh's partner escaped on foot, the site said.
Binh, 23, a migrant from the south central province of Binh Thuan, told police he had sought work at a number of construction sites before he fell in with a group of five or six dog thieves.
The gang used homemade stun guns fashioned out of wooden stocks, metal contact wires and motorbike batteries to take down dogs and sell them to restaurants.
Police claim Binh confessed to having stolen nearly 200 dogs since March.
Many Vietnamese people raise dogs as pets but many others consider them a delicacy.
Dog meat restaurants typically pay strangers between VND100,000 and VND200,000 (US$4.8-$9.6) per dog.
Demand has fueled the thefts, which carry little legal risk.
Stolen dogs are often valued at less than VND2 million (around $100) – the threshold for criminal charges and people are not happy with the idea that thieves will only suffer a fine.
When the communities preyed upon by these thieves catch them, they some times resort to vigilante violence.
Hundreds of people in Dong Nai Province --just outside Ho Chi Minh City-- beat a suspected dog thief unconscious on July 1.
Mob violence has killed a number of dog thieves in Thanh Hoa, the nearby Hai Duong Province in 2013 and the central province of Quang Tri in 2012.
In one of the rare event when government justice can get in the way, a court in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau in August sentenced a dog thief to one year in jail.
He was caught with four live dogs and two dead valued at VND2.75 million ($130).
To protect themselves from police and mobs, the thieves have become equally violent.
A commune police chief in the northern province of Thanh Hoa was hospitalized late in June after a pair of dog thieves beat him with iron bars.
That same month, four dog thieves in Ho Chi Minh City killed three knife-wielding teenage vigilantes by hitting the driver of their bike with a stun gun during a high-speed chase.
A mob of angry villagers in the northern province of Thanh Hoa last July set fire to two motorbikes that dog thieves abandoned in an effort to save their skins.