Three dogs rescued from the South Korean meat trade find new lives in South Elgin
Scared and shivering, 2-year-old tan Korean Jindo Saturn reluctantly pulled his hairy head out of his travel crate on Friday to a larger, more welcoming enclosure at Anderson Humane.
Even after a 12-hour truck ride, he would not come out immediately, not yet realizing the promising turn his fate had taken.
Two weeks ago he arrived in the United States with 33 other dogs after being rescued from a South Korean dog meat farm. Saturn and two others in this group, Jupiter and Harper, were delivered to the South Elgin shelter on Friday afternoon by the Humane Society of the United States.
Dean Daubert, chief operating officer of Anderson Humane, said this was the first time they had picked up dogs from the Korean meat trade.
“These guys are pulled from pretty bad conditions because there are very few animal welfare laws in Korea,” he said. “The government tends to overlook the meat trade because it’s a bit inconvenient for them.”
The Humane Society estimates that one million dogs a year are killed for their meat in South Korea. They are raised intensively on farms, live in squalid conditions, many suffering from malnutrition and skin and eye diseases. Most are slaughtered at around one year of age, usually by electrocution.
The Humane Society reached out to Anderson about the Korean dogs in the wake of the shelter’s recent work caring for 166 beagles rescued over the summer from a Virginia breeding facility by the society.
“We will help them whenever we can,” Daubert said. “They are doing a great job nationally and internationally. But we also want to make sure we are serving our community and our existing partners.”
The Humane Society also delivered a pit bull from a shelter in Florida that was overcrowded with dogs displaced by Hurricane Ian.
Dogs do not yet have permanent or foster homes. Molly Craig, Anderson’s admissions and transfer manager, said that due to the unique circumstances the dogs came from, they wanted to first assess them and get to know their personalities.
“We don’t know for sure what life they had, but obviously they’re going to be scared after transport,” she said. “It’s a traumatic event for them.”
She anticipates that the dogs will spend about a month at the shelter before they are ready to be fostered or adopted. While animals are normally vaccinated and microchipped upon arrival, these dogs will have the weekend to decompress before being checked.
Once they are available for adoption, they will be listed at ahconnects.org/adopt.
The Humane Society International/Korea has permanently closed 17 meat dog farms and rescued more than 2,500 dogs who have found refuge in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and South Korea.
A Nielsen Korea opinion poll published and commissioned by HSI/Korea in October showed that 85% of Koreans say they have never eaten dog meat or will not in the future. 56% of Koreans surveyed said they support a ban on dog meat.
Daubert said he was happy Anderson Humane could help give dogs a second chance at life.
“We bred them for 10,000 years to have that dog-person relationship,” he said. “When we turn that into something else, it’s a violation of the pact we made with the dogs to depend on us for their survival.
“By bringing them in and giving them a home now, we are paying that obligation and giving them a chance for a good life.”