The Dosa Family Rescue:
South Korea is currently experiencing its highest level of rainfall since 2013. Torrential rainfall has devastated the country with flash floods, flooding, and landslides with no end yet in sight. The longest recorded monsoon season lasted 49 days in 2013; current weather forecasts are predicting this year’s season may last longer.
Thousands have been displaced; towns and cities have been evacuated, properties destroyed, and homes and lives have been lost. What were once concrete roads now look like river rapids. Countless animals have perished, including dogs from farms who could not escape their chains. With the rain continuing to pour, our partner shelters have not been spared from the damage, and are inundated with both flood related damages and the huge influx of injured dogs who have been lucky enough to survive.
Negotiations and Legal Custody:
On the night of August 5, 2020, we received a call from one of our colleagues in Dangjin, Korea. Amidst the sound of pouring rain were the cries of 2 Dosa puppies on a farm. Their mother, father, and siblings were floundering in the flood waters struggling to get on solid ground. When our colleague called out to the owner to help his dogs, he informed him he was too busy.
As the day went on and the rain kept pouring, our colleague asked the owner of the dogs to surrender them into his care. It was a not so well-kept secret these dogs were being bred for meat. The owner would keep approximately 10 dogs at a time for dog meat stew during Boknal for his family and friends, and sell the rest to dog meat restaurants for profit. However, when asked to surrender them the owner refused, claiming they were his companion animals.
It became clear that these dogs would either drown to death or face slaughter if they were not rescued. Ever determined, our colleague enlisted the help of another volunteer who helped us negotiate the shutdown of the Dangjin dog meat farm in September 2018. City officials were also called to investigate the lack of ownership registration which resulted in a small fine, although the owner was undeterred.
Officially Welcoming the “Dosa Family!”
Realizing the rescuers would not leave without the dogs, the owner agreed to relinquish them with the exception of the pregnant mother. Following further negotiations, he finally conceded to surrender all 6 dogs and sign a legally binding contract stating he would never again own dogs. Our volunteers in the area will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the agreement is not breached, and report him to authorities if such an incident occurs.
After initial vet appointments, it was discovered both mother and father dogs are heartworm positive, while 2 others have neck and belly issues which will require x-rays and ultrasounds for further diagnosis. They have a long road to recovery ahead of them, but we take comfort in knowing their fate could have been much worse.
Please welcome “the Dosa Family”, as we have affectionately dubbed them, to Free Korean Dogs!
The Worst Is Over, But the Hard Work Has Only Begun
Despite 3 long days of negotiations, the rescue is only the tip of the iceberg. The difficult part is getting the dogs healthy again, and finding the appropriate vet and housing facilities to support them. Dosa breeds face a high level of stigma in South Korea with many establishments refusing intake. Those who are willing are few and far in between. Korean Dosa are widely considered a “dog meat” breed, used only for human consumption and often seen as aggressive despite being gentle giants by nature.
Breakdown of Costs (In Canadian Dollars):
- Rescue, compensation, transportation – $2700
Vet care (vaccinations, spay/neuter/heartworm treatments, and other medical needs) – $6000+
- Housing – $1200 (monthly)
- Food – $400 (monthly)
What can you do to help?
- Make a donation. Every little bit counts! No amount is too small. Tax receipts are eligible for donations over $20 for Canadian residents.
- Fundraise for us. Start a Facebook fundraiser, or organize a fundraising initiative through your business, wedding, birthday, or other event. Contact us for more information.
- Consider becoming a flight volunteer if you are travelling from Seoul to Toronto, Vancouver, or Seattle. There is no cost to you. Our team will take care of all fees, paperwork, and guide you every step of the way. Not only will you be bringing a dog to their forever home, you are helping us make space for more dogs in need.
- Share our posts and stories to inspire more people to get involved! Find us here in our blog, Facebook, or Instagram.
As we always say, it takes a village to rescue a dog. We sincerely thank everyone for being a part of our “village”, for we could not do this without you!
Written by Sara Liao, Board of Director & Adoption Manager