Around 4,000 dogs, rabbits, cats, and other animals that are believed to have been bought online as pets were found dead inside boxes at a logistics hub in China after getting stranded there for almost a week, as per reports.

The rescuers saved just more than 1,000 rabbits, dogs, cats, and hamsters but the rest had perished by the time the boxes reached the facility in Luohe, Henan province on September 22. "We've done rescues before but this was the first time I had experienced something this tragic," a volunteer with the NGO Utopia Animal Rescue named Dan said, as reported by the South China Morning Post.

"When we got there, there were several small mountains of boxes containing animals. Many of them were dead and had started to rot and give off terrible smells," she mentioned as the volunteer described the scene at the depot.

Animals Die in Boxes

Animals transported in boxes
Animals transported in boxes YouTube Grab/NewsX

Chinese authorities are currently investigating the incident that has raised concerns regarding the lack of regulation of the online sale of pets in China. Pets are often illegally transported in unsafe conditions by the courier companies. The shipment was sent on September 16, as per reports.

Yang Aihua, who is an official with the commerce bureau of Luohe said that the animals were sent from the neighboring Jiangsu province. When the truck arrived in Dongxing and it was discovered the cargo had live animals, it refused to accept them.

The driver had dumped the animals at the facility. According to China's postal law, it is illegal to transport animals via a courier system. Dan mentioned that the logistics company involved was Yunda Express. But, the representative of Yunda Express said that the packing slips discovered on the boxes were preprinted for previous customers and were taken without permission.

Dan further mentioned that the company that transported the animals was responsible for the deaths. She said that the company failed to make use of the right documentation was attached to the cargo. "Many small courier companies, they fail to have the right health certificates and enough space for the animals ... we continue to call for a ban on transporting live animals and the online sale of animals," she stated. Over 870 rabbits, 70 dogs, 99 hamsters, and 28 cats were alive at the depot. Dan mentioned that most of the rabbits were in poor condition as they were less than a month old.