updated 1/24/2007 5:29:56 AM ET 2007-01-24T10:29:56

Hundreds of chickens have been found dead in eastern China — and a court has ruled that the cause of death was the screaming of a 4-year-old boy who in turn had been scared by a barking dog, state media reported Wednesday.

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The bizarre sequence of events began when the boy arrived at a village home in the eastern province of Jiangsu in the summer with his father, who was delivering bottles of gas, the Nanjing Morning Post reported.

A villager was quoted as saying the little boy bent over the henhouse window, screaming for a long time, after being scared by the dog.

“One neighbor told police that he had heard the boy’s crying that afternoon and another villager confirmed the boy screaming by the henhouse window,” the newspaper said.

A court ruled the boy’s screaming was “the only unexpected abnormal sound” and that 443 chickens trampled each other to death in fear.

The boy’s father was ordered to pay $230 in compensation to the owner of the chickens.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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