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​Saigon pet owners in expat neighborhood lose sleep over mass poisonings

Monday, August 28, 2017, 14:46 GMT+7
​Saigon pet owners in expat neighborhood lose sleep over mass poisonings
A poster made by Fernando Ruizbo

A series of cat and dog poisonings took place in Thao Dien, a popular neighborhood for expats in Ho Chi Minh City, over the past week, with pet owners calling on local authorities to start an investigation to find the culprit.

The pet poisoning in Thao Dien, located in expat-heavy District 2, was posted online by Fernando Ruizbo, a 38-year-old Colombian.

On August 22, Ruizbo wrote on his personal Facebook page and on the pages of several expat groups based in Ho Chi Minh City that his family’s best friend, Sophie, had died of poisoning.

The Colombian expat, residing on one of the streets most affected, claimed that “someone had put poison on the street or inside [his] yard,” leading to the death of his “pretty and lovely daughter Sophie.”

He quickly took his beloved best friend to the nearest vet, but the doctor was unable to save her life.

“After one hour, the doctor called me and told me that another dog had died on the same street but this dog was not outside, [meaning] someone [had given] him poison between the gate,” the post continued.

According to news website SaoStar, eight other dogs and one cat in Street 4 and nearby Streets 2, 3 and 5 have also been poisoned. Only one dog was able to be saved but is still being treated for damaged liver and lungs, according to the online paper.

One Thao Dien resident also wrote to Tuoi Tre News on Monday, reporting that “someone or a group has been poisoning dogs in the neighborhood,” and local police have allegedly taken no action.

“Several homes of expats have been specifically targeted,” the Tuoi Tre News reader wrote.

“Several dogs have died and it has [affected] a community of people who support Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam.”

Expats march in protest of the mass pet poisonings in this still image taken from the SaoStar footage.
Expats march in protest at the mass pet poisonings in this still image taken from SaoStar footage.

Around 30 expats took to the street in Thao Dien on Sunday, carrying signs calling for justice to be served for their pets.

They also signed a petition, urging local authorities to investigate the mysterious mass poisonings targeted at expat-owned pets.

The expats said 80 percent of the dogs were poisoned when they were within the owners’ properties, such as yards or gardens.

“[The pets] were killed with small bits of poisoned meat that could have been accidentally taken by our children,” the expats wrote in a petition addressed at the municipal police department, according to screenshots provided by SaoStar.

“This is why we are demanding that authorities look for the people who killed [the pets] (…) We request your immediate action.”

Thao Dien police said they have received the petition and promised to study CCTV footage and look into the incident.

Expats gather to sign a petition in Thao Dien in this photo posted on the Facebook of Fernando Ruizbo.
Expats gather to sign a petition in Thao Dien in this photo posted on the Facebook of Fernando Ruizbo.

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