Dog shot 'to ensure air safety' - official

Ge Ge was shot dead by staff at Meilan International Airport in Haikou, Hainan. Photos / Supplied via Weibo.com
Ge Ge was shot dead by staff at Meilan International Airport in Haikou, Hainan. Photos / Supplied via Weibo.com

The owner of a small dog says she is still waiting for a proper explanation from authorities over why her beloved pet was shot dead by security staff after it escaped at a regional airport.

Ge Ge, reported to be a small poodle, was shot at Meilan International Airport in Haikou, Hainan province, after travelling from Beijing in a cage as checked baggage on Monday, the People's Daily Online reported.

The airport released a statement yesterday saying the dog had escaped the cage and reached an access road about 100m away from the runway and had to be shot dead for security reasons

Hainan Airlines, which carried the white, 2kg pet, released a statement saying it had viewed surveillance footage of incident and agreed with the airport's explanation.

Neither company provided CCTV footage with the statements released.

According to Yang Xiaobin, the airport's vice-president, the pet dog escaped its cage kennel and ran all the way from the entrance of the baggage carousel toward the taxiway.

"We chased the dog for 10 minutes but failed to catch it. It's 4:35 pm when the dog ran into the taxiway and flight CZ3120 of China Southern Airlines was scheduled to land a minute later," said Yang. "To ensure air safety, we had no choice but to shoot the dog," he was reported as saying.

The dog's owner, Ni Bin, 52, said she asked for the surveillance video immediately after the incident but was refused.

Ms Ni's daughter said they were shown a 15-second video clip taken in a storehouse in which staff were seen chasing the dog. She said she was told that there was no surveillance outside the storehouse on the road.

Ms Ni said she found it hard to believe that her small dog could break out of its cage and she suspected someone had tried to steal Ge Ge.

Mr Yang admitted that the staff should have been trained better to catch escaped pets.

"We should have given the owner a clear explanation promptly, instead of making her wait for two days," he was quoted as saying.

The incident has drawn condemnation from Chinese web users, with thousands slamming the brutal manner in which the dog was killed.

Photos of the bloody body of Ge Ge, as well as the cage, were posted on Sina.com's popular microblog Weibo.

Web users posted a report of a similar incident at England's Manchester Airport on December 17 which led to a dozen flights being delayed but ended with the airport staff catching the dog, not killing it.

- APNZ

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