Three dogs will arrive in Newport News on Thursday evening after being rescued from a South Korean farm where they would have been slaughtered and processed into stew meat.
The dogs, 10-month-old jindo mixes, could be available for adoption or fostering by late Friday, though Peninsula SPCA executive director Ellen Thacker said the preparation could take another day or two.
“When you think what they have been through, they will probably be anxious and they won’t know where they are or what’s going on,” Thacker said. “They’ve been in a puppy mill with little or no human interaction, so we need to get them calm and accustomed before we can know for sure what’s going to be best for them.”
The dogs were among a group of more than 170 rescued by Humane Society International and delivered on Thursday to Washington, D.C. The rescue effort included golden retrievers, spaniels, beagles, greyhounds as well as Korean jindos and mastiffs.
The Peninsula SPCA and the Portsmouth Humane Society are among the 11 shelters in five states that accepted dogs and will make them available for adoption.
In a news release, the Humane Society said the facility in Namyangju, South Korea, was among thousands of dog meat farms in the country that breed more than 2.5 million canines per year for the purpose of human consumption.
The release describes “filthy and deprived conditions,” and notes: “It is a grim, shocking and largely hidden side of South Korea that is in stark contrast to the colorful pomp and ceremony of the (2018 PyeongChang) Olympic festivities, and one that a growing number of South Koreans believe has no place in their modern, progressive society.”
Nara Kim, a native of South Korea who heads Humane Society International’s campaign against the dog meat farms, said in the release: “Most people in South Korea have no idea how atrocious these dog meat farms are and what physical and mental misery these animals go through. I feel privileged to be able to show these dogs that humans can be kind not just cruel, and to make them feel safe and loved for the first time in their lives.”
The dogs will arrive in the U.S. on Thursday and be transported to the shelters that agreed to take them. The Peninsula SPCA, a no-kill facility, will send two staff members to D.C. to pick up their three jindoes.
The rescued dogs have been vetted and given physical exams by the Humane Society, but Thacker said there still will be preparation to be done — starting with baths and a good night’s sleep.
“We will need to spend some time getting to know them, between our veterinarian and our very experienced kennel people,” she said. “Before we can place them, we need to be able to tell people what they are getting and any concerns we may have about the dog.”
Thacker said she is happy that the Peninsula SPCA could participate and facilitate what she considers to be a great rescue effort by the Humane Society.
“Humane Society International is very involved in this effort to convert dog meat farms into farms that would farm something else,” she said. “You can’t really fault the farmers — culturally, it’s what they do, just like we farm pigs. But Humane Society International thinks there is a better way, and they are assisting farmers with the conversion process. We’re glad we could help.”
The Peninsula SPCA operates a no-kill shelter at 523 J. Clyde Morris Boulevard in Newport News. For information, call 757-595-1399 or visit peninsulaspca.org.
Holtzclaw can be reached by phone at 757-928-6479 or on Twitter @mikeholtzclaw.