Recently a sad story unfolded in District 2’s Thao Dien ward. A pet dog died and an autopsy found it had been poisoned.

Over the course of the next three weeks a further eight dogs and one cat met the same fate.

Undoubtedly these were the deliberate actions of someone with some kind of warped agenda. Local pet owners walked through their neighbourhood, carrying posters, to the police station to express their concerns.

Whether the poisonings were retribution from someone being kept awake by barking dogs, or sick of dogs fouling the streets, it is hard to say. However much I am opposed to this action, I certainly can sympathise with anyone who is awakened in the middle of the night.

I live next door to a rooster and have not had a single full night’s sleep for about six weeks. I don’t know if it is a fighting bird, but if anyone has the contact details of Foghorn Leghorn, I will put a purse up.

Sometimes these kind of incidents precede a spate of burglaries, but none have been reported so far.

I heard some people blaming the dog restaurant on Tran Nao Street, but this is clearly not the case.

Nobody poisons meat then sells it for human consumption, and even if there was a psychopath on the loose doing this, there would have followed a string of poisoned people. I am not going to get into the ethics of eating dog meat as I am not a vegetarian and I think that would be hypocritical.

These are, however, the actions of a somewhat disturbed human being. Poisoning an animal is a particularly cowardly way to get rid of it. The poor creature dies in agony and the perpetrator doesn’t have to see the results of his or her actions.

The poison used has not yet been identified but it is not rat poison, which causes bleeding. There is a more serious issue here though. This poison could have been picked up by a child, the consequences are too awful to contemplate.

This is not an isolated incident either, there have been spates of dog poisonings in Hoi An and two other provinces in the wake of this Saigon scenario.

If captured, the perpetrators are likely to suffer instant and draconian retaliation from the local community.

In the past, dog thieves in Vietnam have been severely beaten and sometimes killed. But this is not an ideal solution at all.

The people who are suffering here are those in the local communities. They lose beloved pets in terrible, distressing circumstances.

Then if a local is discovered and kangaroo court action follows, more local families suffer tragedies.

The strange part about dog restaurants in Vietnam is that local people who have pet dogs will eat there and only complain if one of their own pets goes missing. Surely a better approach would be to stop patronising the restaurants until they come up with an ethical way to farm dogs.

Following a highly successful 25-year career as a singer/songwriter and musician, Keith pulled out of the rat race and moved to Southeast Asia in 2008. First living in Thailand, he moved to Cambodia and then relocated to Ho Chi Minh City in early 2013.

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