By all accounts, Canon was an ordinary dog who loved his human like any other, but his death broke the hearts of many in Indonesia and sparked huge outcry over alleged animal brutality in the hands of public order officials in Aceh.
According to reports, Canon called Aceh’s Banyak Islands district home, and belonged to the owner of a resort on one of the islands.
An animal protection group said that in anticipation of a plan to transform the island into a halal tourism destination starting on Nov. 5, Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) officers — not professional animal handlers — have been rounding up critters considered incompatible with Islam’s halal ideals. That category includes dogs — and Canon.
A video that went viral over the weekend shows several Satpol PP officers attempting to catch the black dog, with one using a long wooden pole to trap him.
(Slide right to the end for the video)
After the incident depicted in the video, Canon was reportedly placed inside a small basket that was covered with tarp, as Satpol PP was going to transport him to Singkil regency in the mainland. However, he suffocated in the sack and died on the journey.
Canon’s owner, who was not present at the time of the capture, was supposed to pick him up in Singkil if tragedy hadn’t struck. In the post above, she wrote in the voice of Canon about what a lovable and friendly dog he was, and detailed the brutal abduction by Satpol PP officers.
“Oh God, I was tortured to death by people I wanted to make friends with. What did I do wrong? Why did they torture me? I hadn’t met my owner yet,” a passage in the caption reads.
The post went hugely viral over the weekend, attracting sympathy from many in Indonesia, including animal protection groups and celebrities.
Banyak Islands District Head Mukhlis yesterday defended the actions of the Satpol PP officers, saying that Canon was a problematic dog who had bitten two residents in the past.
“We have sent notices [to the owner] since 2019. The head of the village has also warned them. But the warnings went unheeded by the resort owners who kept the animal at the tourist site,” Mukhlis said.
“Two people have been bitten, and there were also those who were chased by the dog that they dropped their belongings and phones in the sea.”
Coconuts has reached out to Canon’s owner for comment.
An online petition on Change.org demanding justice for Canon has received more than 60,000 signatures as of this article’s publication. You can sign the petition here.