Thai authorities announced dog thief Nguyen Hau Em, 22, has been sentenced to a year in jail in south Vietnam on Thursday.
“This is the first time in many years we’ve sentenced a dog thief to prison,” said deputy chief Le Hong Nguyet. “He had the honesty to admit his crime. We hope the sentence will act as an example to help reduce dog thefts.”
The man was found on 18 July with 6 dogs inside a bag he had caught using a stun gun. This type of crime is commonly only punishable with a fine, but the value of the dogs was too great, approx. 2.75 million dong.
The Bangkok Post reported that some 20 alleged dog thieves were beaten to death by local vigilantes last year due to growing outrage among citizens for seeing thieves who sell pet dogs to restaurants to be slaughtered facing only fines of less than 2 million dong.
According to the ACPA, an estimated 5 million dogs are slaughtered every year for human consumption in Vietnam, where it is considered a delicacy.
The most common sources outside Vietnam itself are Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, from where over 80,000 dogs are illegally traded and killed each year.
“The journeys the dogs are taken on often last many days, during which the dogs remain tightly packed into small cages with no food, water or rest. Many die from suffocation, dehydration or heatstroke before they reach their final destination,” explains the ACPA.
“For those who survive, the gruelling journey ends at a slaughterhouse, market or restaurant. The way in which dogs are slaughtered varies between countries, provinces, slaughterhouses and restaurants, but hanging, beating and bleeding out from a cut to the throat or groin are all common ways of killing, often in full view of other dogs.”