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Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, A woman in Beijing walks her dogs during the Covid-19 pandemic

The killing of a pet dog in China while the owner was in Covid-19 quarantine has led to social media outrage and the sacking of a health worker.

Video footage of the incident, in Shangrao in Jiangxi province, appeared to show one of the Covid health workers who were disinfecting the woman's flat beating the dog with a crowbar.

It was recorded by her security camera.

The owner, who posted the footage online, said she was quarantining in a hotel that did not allow pets.

Local authorities issued a statement apologising for the incident and saying that one of the health workers had been dismissed, but claimed the dog had been the subject of a "harmless disposal".

The Shangrao neighbourhood, where the dog's owner lived, had been labelled a Covid-19 controlled area, meaning residents were forced to quarantine while health workers disinfected their homes.

The incident has added to criticism of China's "zero-Covid" strategy, under which local authorities have reacted quickly to individual cases with massive programmes of testing, tracing and localised lockdowns, including forced quarantine for residents.

  • Why China is still trying to achieve zero Covid

The attack on the dog sparked outrage among social media users on China's Weibo platform, which is similar to Twitter. The video has been viewed millions of times, despite the dog owner's original post apparently having been taken down, and the incident was among the top trending items on Weibo on Sunday.

Among the most liked posts were one that read: "Who gave them the right to break into her home and kill her dog?"

Another said: "This is a violation of a citizen's privacy and the security of her property!"

And one Weibo user wrote: "Pets are an owner's private property and they cannot be culled without permission! Even if culling is necessary, there needs to be a solid, scientific basis for it!"

The Shangrao dog is reportedly not the first animal killed in China after its owner was sent to quarantine. Earlier this month, cats belonging to a resident of Chengdu were said to have been killed after testing positive for Covid-19.

And there were reports in September that three cats in Harbin in the province of Heilongjiang were euthanised while their owner was in quarantine, despite not having been tested for the disease.

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