Time flies when you’re busy, and boy have our 101 rescues kept us busy! At the end of Disney’s “101 Dalmatians”, dog owners Roger and Anita resolved to buy a large country property to care for the many new additions to their family. We couldn’t have the Disney “fairy tale” ending of buying a large estate with a white picket fence, but our dogs have been kept safe at our partner boarding house where they moved in after they were removed from the farm.
New “Home” Renovations
When we confirmed there would be 101 new members joining the FKD clan, we knew we needed to make changes so that the dogs could live comfortably. As we have never had a rescue of this capacity before, this was certainly a task that required a lot of planning ahead. After leaving the farm, all the rescues were sent directly to the boarding house and underwent a 2-week quarantine period to ensure any potentially infectious diseases were contained. As we did not know how the dogs would get along in a communal living space, vigilant supervision was required. Additionally, as none of the dogs were spayed or neutered, further triage and separation were needed.
While we already had a number of fencing and outdoor kennels built in preparation for their arrival, delays in the delivery of supplies meant some dogs needed to be housed in indoor buildings on the property. Although it provided protection from the sun and other elements, space was limited, which meant some dogs needed to be created at times for safety while others were having their “play time”.
Luckily, our outdoor kennels arrived shortly after and were promptly built. This allowed dogs to have more space and freedom outside when they needed to be separated until it was their turn to enjoy the outdoor playground. Not long after, wooden floors were added to the kennels. This allowed for more cleanliness and ensured the dogs would not be able to dig their way out and escape.
Giving the dogs the space and freedom to roam allowed us to slowly get to know each and every one of our new arrivals, and observe and assess their personalities with staff, volunteers, and other dogs. We have been delighted to see that many of them enjoying their newfound freedom and adjusting well to the newest chapter of their lives.
A Visit from the Vet
Upon completing the 2-week quarantine period, our vets came on-site to provide exams and medical assessments. While a number of our rescues were visibly suffering from skin issues, the silver lining is they are treatable and non-life threatening. 12 of our dogs are currently undergoing treatment for skin issues, which include mange, scabies, and dermatophytes. Treatment is estimated to last for approximately 6-9 months with a full recovery on the horizon.
Luckily, the majority of the dogs were in relatively good health compared to typical dog meat trade survivors. We were relieved to discover many did not have heartworm, one of the most common problems, and will continue to test and monitor them. In the meantime, all dogs were administered dewormer and parasite prevention, the latter of which will continue to be provided on a monthly basis during the spring and summer months in order to be proactive against heartworm and other parasite-borne diseases.
Next came another crucial procedure – spay and neutering. We have been fortunate to have mobile vets to perform the surgery on-site. We first prioritized the surgery for the 13 dogs who were selected to be sent to training school. In order to attend school to learn how to be good canine citizens and the best versions of themselves, they first needed to be spayed and neutered. So far, 32 of our dogs have been successfully spayed and neutered, and another 22 are expected to be completed in the coming week. Our indoor space and outdoor kennels have proven very useful at this time, allowing a comfortable space for the dogs to recover from their procedures.
Erasing the Past and Ending the Cycle of Abuse
In the most recent development of our shutdown project, we returned to the farm for a final time and demolished the cages for good. Although not as dramatic as our Dangjin shutdown, with bulldozers and cranes crashing down, we did tear them down nonetheless. The entry to the farm was too narrow for any heavy equipment to pass, and while no longer farming dogs, the property had crops that would risk damage if bulldozers and cranes were sent in.
As a result, volunteers destroyed the cages by cutting and dismantling the wire cages by hand and removing the scraps to be disposed of using smaller trucks. Various paraphernalia were taken away to be disposed of and destroyed, such as the propane tanks, torches, and electrical devices used before slaughter.
The procedure was both literal and symbolic. On one hand, we literally destroyed the cages to end the practice of farming dogs for human consumption. Symbolically speaking, we were slowly chipping away at the dog meat trade as a whole. Our partners and volunteers will continue to monitor the property to ensure the farmer abides by the terms of our mutually agreed contract, stating he will never own dogs for personal or business reasons, and will never return to the business of raising, buying, or selling dogs for the dog meat trade.
Preparing for the Next Chapter
We knew from the beginning this would be a journey. And while we are no longer strangers to dog meat shutdown projects, we continue to learn with every endeavor we pursue. What is next in this saga? Some have already passed their medical and behavior assessments successfully and will be on their way to the next chapter – finding their forever homes. For those not yet ready, we will continue to allow them to decompress, settle in, and heal on both the inside and out. Shutting down a dog meat farm is not a short story, it is a novel. It is not a sprint, but rather a marathon. It is a long and winding road, but worth every step of the way.
We say it all the time: shutting down the farm is the easiest part. The hard part comes after. It is supporting the dogs through their journey to adoption with whatever means in our power, to ensure the best quality of life possible for our dogs during their time with us, however long it takes. We have invested so much of our time, emotions, and finances in these dogs, but we believe they are worth every second, tear, and penny we can spare.
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