Written by By Jake Donovan, CNN
Amanda Benton, a Chinese-American blogger, runs an online self-improvement campaign, the #foreveryarday campaign, which focuses on the dangers of narcotic use.
Last weekend, while on vacation in Chongqing, China, she noticed an unusual sight.
“A stray dog was hiding behind a tree with its legs sticking out, lifeless in the sun,” Benton told CNN in an email. “My first thought was ‘this can’t be a stray dog.’ Then I saw the leash on its collar, it had made the mistake of defecating on the sidewalk, and left it.”
Benton called the local animal shelter and requested to adopt the dog. The animal park then posted photos of the animal online.
“That night I couldn’t sleep. As I slept I felt a physical ache through my scalp. I came to the conclusion that this was a woman setting myself up in order to kill her dog.”
The next day Benton discovered that the owner of the animal was an anti-vivisection activist who wrote for Chinese language websites like People’s Daily Online. The activist claimed the dog was deliberately abandoned, and that she would share the details of the event on her blog.
“The dog had hardly had a moment to recover from his fatal defecation when the owner simply dumped him into the street,” Benton said.
In the days following the incident, the animal lover spoke out on social media.
“Why would I kill my dog? I’m asking, why would anyone?” she asked. “He was just sitting there, his jaw still frozen, legs dangling. I can’t see how he could be a danger. Maybe he was not using the proper route, but the dog was still defecating on the sidewalk and in the morning that’s what this woman picked up after he passed out. Not even a few minutes later she picked him up and dumped him in the street! Please share this, because I will never forget this.”
On Saturday, the animal lover wrote on Twitter: “I didn’t kill my dog for running foul of the law. I didn’t even kill it for being a stray. I killed it because of the people who caused its death by their own hands.”
Animal rights activists in China increasingly target rehabilitating animals before their intended disposal, as animal welfare groups struggle to increase funding, and rely heavily on donations from sympathizers.
Anti-vivisection activists frequently share specific stories online, claiming that the animals they are killing would have been rendered useless to society were it not for their misguided treatment.
Proponents claim the use of animal tests in medicine and as science education are critical to modern development, and use scientific data and statistics to bolster their claims.
Benton believes the murder of a defenseless dog was simply cruel.
“I don’t have a lot of faith in authorities here to protect animals, or to uphold the highest standards of morality, and this woman is clearly a fanatic, obsessed with defending her religion and culture, but when people are her advocates, she’s using their love to justify her actions,” she said.
Benton is now campaigning to save the dog and remove the case from public circulation.
Benton has begun the #UberDog campaign on Instagram, where she seeks support to transport the distressed dog to a shelter where it can find a new home.
“I’m not trying to lead any social justice movement here, just try to give this dog a new life,” she said.