A Chinese court has sentenced 11 people to prison for selling poisoned dog meat in the central province of Hunan.

The state-run Xinhua news agency reports the verdict was given by the court in Dingcheng district in Changde city.

The convicts have been given prison terms ranging from one to seven years along with fine. They were found guilty under the charges of selling hazardous food substances.

The members of the gang had killed about 1,000 dogs using darts which are dipped in highly toxic chemical - succinylcholine chloride – and later they stored the meat in freezer.

The policed had busted the ring in December last year seizing about 12 tonnes of dog meat. They had already sold meat from about 10 dogs when they were arrested.

In many Chinese provinces eating dog meat is prevalent and is considered traditional. The Chinese in some provinces also believe that dog meat has medicinal purposes. Nonetheless, the consumption has often been condemned by pet lovers and animal rights activists.