It has been one year since we shutdown the dog meat farm in Sihueng, South Korea. It was our third and largest self-initiated shutdown, rescuing 101 dogs from the farm. With the birth of 7 puppies, a total of 108 were saved from slaughter and brought to live out the rest of their lives in safety. As a part of a legally binding contract, the dog meat farm owner and his family agreed to never return to the trade nor own any dogs. The farm and its cages have since been demolished, leaving behind its dark and morbid past.
While a year may seem a long time in some ways, it is a considerably short amount of time when it comes to rehabilitating a lifetime of trauma and neglect. Nonetheless, we are very proud of the progress our dogs have made and are excited to continue this journey with them.
25 Happy Homes
As of today, 25 of the 108 dogs have been adopted into loving families in Canada and the US. Our first group was the most social and healthy ones who were immediately comfortable with humans. The second group included many who needed a little more time but ultimately came out of their shells at our partner boarding house after being given time to decompress. It has been the utmost reward to see them thrive and lives life in peace and confidence.
When shutting down a dog meat farm, it is not uncommon to find puppies and pregnant dogs. In order for farmers to maintain their “product inventory”, they often breed dogs on-site. However, we were initially surprised to find not one pregnant female on the farm. Little did we know, Sihwa, a skittish girl who no one could approach due to her aggressively defending her personal space, was pregnant all the while. Our plan was to send her to training so she could be safely handled for her spay, but two weeks after our discovery, she gave birth to 7 puppies.
Uno, who arrived at his foster home in Toronto in November, is also looking for his forever home. He has come leaps and bounds since his rescue, has made great strides in adjusting to life in Canada, and continues to impress us with his resilience and adaptability. He is more than ready for his forever family. Six of his fellow farm-mates are currently available for adoption via our website.
Training and Rehabilitation
Shortly after the farm’s liberation, the dogs underwent health and behavioural assessments to help us determine the next steps. We ultimately selected ten dogs who had strong fear-based reactions to humans to send to a professional board and train program. After building the foundation of their training at the same facility our Dangjin dog meat farm rescues graduated from, they returned to our partner boarding house on May 10, where they had their spring checkups, vaccinations, and deworming. The rest of the rescues had completed theirs a few weeks ago when vets visited the boarding house to provide the treatment on-site.
It has been exciting to find a new dog training school a mere 5 minutes away from the boarding house. We sent another ten dogs to this new board and train facility to help them with socialization. Being nearby makes it convenient to visit and see their progress, as well as in case of any emergency situation needing our attention.
For those who have been following our dogs’ journeys, some familiar and reoccurring faces in our photos are most commonly asked after.
Sihwa will be returning to the training school to complete her program as she continues to react strongly with fear-based aggression toward humans. We have gone back to square one in our plan to ensure she is in the proper mental and emotional state to be spayed so as to not impose too much stress on her, which could also jeopardize the safety of the staff and volunteers handling her. Rescue is a careful balance of ensuring our dogs are physically, emotionally, and psychologically healthy, and sometimes this means needing to focus on building their trust and confidence in humans first. Until then, intact dogs are carefully supervised and triaged to ensure there is no reproduction.
Mani, the mother to adopted puppies Sion, Siyeon, Sieun, Sihyun, Siwoo, and Sia, is currently undergoing heartworm treatment. She also had several teeth extracted due to an apical abscess. When her heartworm treatment is completed, and she is strong enough, she will undergo surgery to remove a mammary tumor. Mani has been through a lot but has taken everything in stride. She remains very trusting of humans and is very sweet and affectionate with humans, but is untrusting of other dogs.
Allock suddenly and expectedly crossed the rainbow bridge in September 2022 after complications from her spay surgery. She was one of our more skittish dogs who had bitten staff members out of fear on a few occasions, but also one we saw a lot of potential in. It was a difficult goodbye, but we take comfort in knowing she was safe, loved, and cared for in the few months she was with us.
Gangsae remains on medication to treat his skin condition. Every week, his handsome self shines through a little more and more than we ever imagined.
Rehabilitating dog meat rescues is a long and winding road, with a few bumps along the way, but also some great stops. As we always say, shutting down the dog meat farm is the easy part. The hard part comes after.
As they continue to adjust, decompress, and heal from their physical and emotional wounds, more dogs from this rescue will be ready for adoption in the coming months and in search of their forever homes. We anticipate the others will take much longer to rehabilitate, and some may never gain enough confidence to live out their lives as household companions. In any case, we are committed to supporting our dogs for better or for worse, through thick and thin, no matter what.
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