A couple from Vietnam left the Long An province on a motorbike along with pack of pet dogs only to test positive for the Covid-19 themselves.
While in hospital, they found out that 12 of their pets had been killed by authorities over fears that the dogs could spread the virus, reports BBC.
"My wife and I cried so much that we couldn't sleep," Pham Minh Hung, a 49-year-old bricklayer told the BBC.
"I didn't want to believe that really happened… I couldn't do anything to protect my kids," he said, referring to his dogs.
The incident sparked huge backlash in Vietnam, resulting in a petition calling for the end of the practice- which has gained more than 150 000 signatures.
A harsh lockdown in recent months meant that many migrant workers have been unable to make a living, which prompted millions to flee the big cities.
Pham Minh Hung and Nguyen Thi Chi Em were among those who fled, embarking on a 280 km journey along with their dogs and three relatives, who also brought three dogs and one cat.
The couple headed for Khanh Hung in Ca Mau province, the hometown of a relative, as Covid cases are not as high there.
Many witnesses posted videos about the couple's journey online, showing them on their motorbike with their dogs and belongings all piled on. The couple became popular with many social media users who cheered them on and wished them a safe journey.
Some said their hearts melted a little when the couple used raincoats to cover their dogs in the pouring rain. A few even delivered water and food to them.
The couple had started out with 15 dogs, on the journey two were giving to a volunteer while another died. But the couple and their relatives tested positive for Covid after reaching Khanh Hung and were transferred to a hospital for treatment, while the animals were left at a quarantine centre.
However according to local media, the 12 dogs and their relatives' pets were killed by authorities without them being informed, it's unclear how the animals but the official police newspaper carried an image that indicated the animals were burned.
"Disease control must be prioritised in the first place and the decision to kill the animals immediately was a necessary preventive measure," local official Tran Tan Cong said during a press conference on Sunday.
The killings were "unethical" and "ridiculous" because there are no guidelines dictating pets must be killed if owners are infected, said Nguyen Hong Vu, a staff scientist of the City of Hope National Medical Centre in the US.
"There is no scientific evidence dogs and cats can be an intermediary for the transmission of Covid to humans. However, people with Covid can sometimes infect them," Dr Nguyen said.
Mr. Pham said that the hardest thing for him was finding out that his beloved animals had been killed from other people. He is determined to hold the authorities accountable.