As I write this, 21 dogs, and another 9 on their way, are resting comfortably in our shelter and, for the first time in their lives, getting a chance to be dogs, the companion animals we know them to be. In the more than three decades I’ve been working with animals, I can honestly say that San Diego Humane Society’s continued involvement in rescuing dogs from the cruelty of the Korean dog meat trade stands out as one of the most important missions we’ve ever tackled. These dogs, in particular, face a horrific fate. Which makes it doubly important that we step up to help them. To me, these rescues are the ultimate statement of our commitment to helping vulnerable animals, near and far.
The global need for animal protection is vast and, thanks to Facebook, none of us who care about animals can turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to the plight of animals all over the globe. So, when our friends at Humane Society International (HSI), who have made ending the Asian dog meat trade a priority, asked us to assist again with this important rescue effort, we said yes without hesitation. You may recall we partnered with HSI for a similar rescue operation to save 29 dogs about six months ago.
I’m proud to share with you that this past weekend, San Diego Humane Society’s Special Response Team once again made the trip to San Francisco International Airport to transport another 21 dogs, including 15 puppies, saved from the Korean dog meat trade. Some of their pictures are included here. These animals were part of a larger group of dogs previously destined for slaughter from a dog meat farm in South Korea. We pledge to care for and rehome these animals because saving them draws attention to the horrors of the dog meat trade globally and, more importantly, gives these dogs and puppies new lives where they will be loved rather than be dinner.
Last summer we announced that we’d gotten to zero. Zero euthanasia of healthy and treatable animals in San Diego County. That pretty much means that our shelters will be full taking care of San Diego and Southern California dogs and cats. And we are. But that doesn’t mean we have to turn our backs on other animals in need. And we never will. We’ve pledged to keep our County at zero and we’ll never recant that promise. But we’re citizens of a larger world. Believe me, animals know nothing about borders. Ignoring any animal in need is not an option for us. As you read this, these dogs are safe, going for walks, and getting veterinary care for the first time in their lives. Because of you, their stomachs are full; they have fresh, clean water; they can stretch, stand, turn around, and rest on beds instead of filthy wire cages on an overcrowded meat farm. Our veterinary and behavior teams are working on their rehabilitation plans to get them ready for adoption.
Gary Weitzman, DVM, MPH, CAWA
President and CEO, San Diego Humane Society