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03may20101Dharmshala: The Chinese have a saying, "robbing and stealing while the house is on fire". Unfortunately this is happening in quake-stricken Tibet. As if the recent developments of the Tibetan earthquake in Kyegudo was not already tragic, Tibetan Mastiffs - rare domestic dogs of an ancient breed - are being stolen by Chinese rescue workers as the hounds are rescued from the rubble.

Since a disastrous earthquake struck Kyegudo in eastern Tibet - leaving more than 2,000 dead, 10,000 injured and hundreds of thousands homeless - on April 14 this year, Tibetan Mastiffs, a lot of which were living with the stranded, injured and dead prior to the quake, unfortunately became the forgotten victims of the tragedy.

In addition to rescuing human lives, Chinese rescue workers have also been rescuing Tibetan Mastiffs out of the debris. However, since the Mastiffs' previous owners are either hospitalized, missing, or dead, due to the lack of proper oversight regarding these hounds, the Mastiffs are being rescued and put into suspicious-looking vans (as shown in picture).

It is no surprise that these dogs are being stolen as Tibetan Mastiffs are a very valuable breed that can be sold for a fortune. This is evident as the big stores selling this breed near Lhasa label Tibetan Mastiffs with a price range of approximately $2000 - 6000 USD. Last year in September, a Chinese businesswoman from Xi'an spent four million yuan (more than $500,000 USD) buying a Tibetan Mastiff and had 30 Mercedes-Benz cars to escort the dog from the airport.

Whether or not the fire department is looking someone of the Chinese businesswoman's caliber, it is important to realize that though disaster has struck, law and order must persist and this sort of looting and stealing is not helping the impoverished victims of the quake.

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