Community leaders in China are offering to pay residents £23 to kill stray dogs in a controversial move they claim is designed to fight the spread of coronavirus.
Local officials in Guandong, a coastal province in south east China near Hong Kong, made the shocking pledge in a document titled "A Kind Reminder".
They said: "We will reward people who capture and kill stray dogs.
"'For each killed stray dog, we will give 200 yuan (£23).'
The order was issued by leaders of the province's Wanjiang community after repeated problems between some residents and "rule-breaking dog owners".
And under the rules, any dog not on a leash when out in a public place could be considered a stray dog and would be considered fair game.
Authorities have denied accusations that they were encouraging the killing of dogs.
They claimed they were regulating pet-keeping in the area by enforcing the rule.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) still insists there is no evidence that shows the Covid-19 virus can be passed on by animals.
But backlash against the new statement was almost immediate.
"It's such a barbaric rule. I found it ridiculous,' one woman told the local press.
"It's not what a civilised society would do."
The notice is now in the process of being re-drafted because "its content was inappropriate", a spokesman from the Wanjiang community, known by his surname Long, told Kankan News.
"We wanted to regulate keeping pets. We are not encouraging killing dogs," Mr Long added.
- World Health Organisation
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