It’s not easy to be a dog lover in Vietnam. Across the country, they’re tormented by violent gangs that steal pets and sell them to dog meat restaurants. Dog meat is a pricey delicacy in Vietnam and snatching strangers’ pets is almost as lucrative as selling drugs.

The thieves are increasingly brazen. They’re usually armed with blades and tasers. They confront pet owners with a horrible choice: back down or risk death to save your dog.

But many Vietnamese are refusing to back down. In recent years, villagers have formed angry mobs to maim and even kill dog snatchers. They even post their attacks on YouTube as a grisly warning to would-be thieves.

Senior Southeast Asia correspondent Patrick Winn travels to Vietnam to meet with dog thieves and their distraught victims. He meets veterans of the US-Vietnam war who’ve killed dog thieves without remorse. And he encounters a young generation of animal lovers fighting to end the dog meat trade for good.

Filmed and edited by video journalist Mark Oltmanns.

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Vietnam