In fact, they never were:
Wang Kaiyu … owns a banana farm in Jinchang Town, near the border of Vietnam, China News reports. Two years ago, a Vietnamese man was passing by the area with two “good looking” pups, and Wang decided to buy them off the man, he told reporters.
For two years, he lovingly raised the “dogs”, bathing and pampering them every day. Wang said the animals were well-behaved but that their appetites were rapidly growing. He recalled a few times when his beloved pets caught and ate chickens on the farm.
As fate would have it, Wang saw a poster about wildlife protection at an exhibition hosted by the forest police, and the bells started ringing.
Canis familiaris? Nope. Ursus thibetanus, the Asian black bear, which is indeed deemed “protected” by Chinese law. Vietnam, not incidentally, prohibits their export.