Day man’s best friend was turned into ‘mouthwatering’ delicacy
Keeping dogs, man’s best friend, costs money – they need food, general care, vaccinations against worms and diseases and most of all, they demand attention, patience and great care.
The companionship of the canine friends has been known for ages as pets and for security reasons in most of the countries in the world, including Kenya, making it a cultural taboo serving up a dish of man’s best friend.
Despite the love, the security services and the cultural taboo, Mr Martin Munene from Karimba village in Maara Sub-County, Tharaka-Nithi County last week took a knife and while whistling lured his only dog into his house where he tied it up and painfully slaughtered it for food.
He claimed he was driven into the act by hunger that were threatening his life.
Sorrowfully, but with no other option, Mr Munene went on and skinned his friend and boiled part of the meat and hanged the rest in the house, hoping that it would serve him for the next few days as he searches for a job to earn him future meals.
The meat and ugali was ready and Munene was set for a heavy lunch, having spent three days without food, when residents who had leanrt of the incident knocked on his door.
Already, the villagers had informed the authority and in few minutes the police, accompanied by area chief, arrived and Munene was handicapped and escorted to Chogoria Police Station to be arraigned before a Chuka court the following day.
Man had ‘bitten a dog’ and the news spread like bush fire through both mainstream and on social media reaching Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, who sympathized with the middle-aged man and ordered for his immediate release.
Mr Haji, in a message on Twitter, further directed the county’s criminal investigations boss Ms Betty Chepngeno and with help of the County Commissioner Ms Beverly Opwora to make sure the man gets adequate food.
With the ‘order from above’, Mr Munene walked out of the police cells a free man and his stomach full, not only for that day but until the dry season is over.
The following morning, Maara Deputy County Commissioner Mr James Wambua in company of other officers visited Mr Munene at his home and delivered a basket full of goodies including three cabbages, 8kgs of maize flour, cooking fat, onions and potatoes all worth Sh1,000.
The officers promised to continue supporting him with food until he is stable enough to feed himself and also advised him to always share his challenges with the villagers and administration before making such a decision.
Mr Munene revealed that before opting to slaughter his only pet, he had tried to ask for maize flour from a nearby shop but the owner declined because he had other several unpaid debts at the same place.
“I had gone without food for three days and instead of stealing, I decided to slaughter my dog because I could not wait silently and die,” said Mr Munene.
He thanked Mr Haji for his intervention noting that he could rot in jail and his sickly mother who solely depend on him suffer a lot because he could not afford to pay any fine if he were to be jailed.
Neighbours described Munene as a hardworking man and blamed his predicament on the prolonged drought that has made it hard to get food or even a job.
“Many people are suffering due to the drought and it is the high time government identifies the most affected families and support them with relief food as we wait November rainfall,” said Mr Peter Mutembei, a villager.
Karimba assistant chief Mr Flabian Nkonge confirmed many people are suffering from hunger but urged residents to seek help from government instead of eating dogs.
Kenyan law does not clearly describe animals that should be eaten but Section 3(3) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act states that a person found guilty of cruelty to animals is liable to a fine not exceeding Sh3,000, or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months, or to both.
Yet, in some parts of the world such as China, Nigeria, Indonesia, South Korea, Vietnam, Switzerland, Arctic and Antarctic, dogs are often on the menu.
In Nigeria, dog meat is a common delicacy. Some believe that eating the canine meat helps build immunity against diseases, especially in Suya area where people visit to eat grilled dog meat to protect themselves against the Ebola outbreak, despite health official warnings.
Some people also associate dog meat with improving one’s sex life.
While dogs are usually used for sledging through the ice in the Arctic, Greenland and other cold-climate countries, when meat supply runs low people who live in these regions turn to dog meat for nourishment.
In Vietnam dog meat is a sumptuous dish served in parties and other special occasions and is sold in lucrative hotels and meat markets.