A couple accused of poisoning dozens of pet dogs and cats in Vietnam have been arrested, state media said Monday, as local authorities clamp down on animal snatchers who sell the meat to food shops and markets.
Traditionally eaten with rice wine or beer, dog meat is considered a delicacy in parts of the country. Cat — although less popular — also features on some menus, often dubbed “little tiger”.
But the animals are also lovingly raised as pets by many families.
On Sunday residents in northern Thanh Hoa province, roughly 200 kilometers (120 miles) south of Hanoi, found the bodies of their pets scattered in the streets.
They alerted police, who later caught a man and a woman “collecting the dead dogs and cats in bags”, VNExpress news site said.
Police found cyanide and tools to butcher the 30 animals at the couple’s rented house, another state-run news site said.
The pair reportedly confessed to catching dogs and cats in several communities, intending to transport them to another province to sell as meat.
Police did not immediately confirm the reports to AFP.
International animal protection groups have continuously called on the Vietnamese government to ban the eating of dog and cat meat, but Hanoi has so far declined and the business remains lucrative.
According to Four Paws, an estimated 30 million dogs are killed for their meat every year in Asia, including Vietnam, China and Cambodia.