A Vietnamese couple whose heartbreaking story gripped the country after their 12 pet dogs were killed by authorities over unfounded fears they could have spread Covid have now adopted a new brood of puppies – some of which were rescued from dog meat shops.
Pham Minh Hung and his wife Nguyen Thi Chi Em have adopted 15 puppies after receiving an outpouring of support and donations from people following outrage over the murder of their dogs, the BBC Vietnam Service reported. .
Mr Pham said he received 120 million Vietnamese dong (£3,898) from donors who collected the money after their 12 dogs were killed by authorities who said the animals could have contracted Covid, although there is no proof of the claim.
Mr Pham said that although he was busy looking after the new puppies, he was still coping with the loss of his pets, recalling he was ‘depressed and cried a lot’ when his dogs were you are beautiful.
He also pointed out that he was suffering from Covid at the time which added to his torment.
“We raised the dogs for six, seven years. I was very sad. During Lunar New Year, we went back to where the dogs were killed and burned incense for our children,” he added.
It all started with Mr Pham becoming a viral social media sensation in Vietnam after photos and videos of him and his wife traveling with a pack of dogs on motorbikes went viral.
Photos of the dogs, some of whom were wearing raincoats, were perched on their luggage and widely circulated as they made a 300km journey to escape Covid restrictions from another part of the country.
However, the story, which many social media claim gave them comfort in difficult conditions amid lockdowns, came to a tragic end when Mr Pham learned their pets had been ‘brutally killed’ by government officials without their consent in October last year.
The dogs were killed after the couple caught Covid on their journey to their hometown and were transferred to a hospital while the animals were taken to a quarantine centre.
Mr Pham alleged that the pets were beaten before being killed and his wife told Vice News that some of the pets were first drowned and then burned.
“Two men put my dogs in bags, immersed them in water and then threw them on fire to burn them,” Ms Nguyen told the outlet, citing witnesses.
But Mr Pham is now trying to find solace by adopting new puppies, some of which he bought before they were slaughtered for their meat.
“Some of them looked so bad they were locked up for their meat, so I bought them and bred them,” Mr Pham said.
He is now looking for a bricklaying job and aims to sell lottery tickets to save money and look after the dogs he affectionately calls his “children”.