Meat farm dogs find second lives with families
Almost all of the Korean dogs rescued from a meat farm and placed up for adoption in St. Catharines have found permanent homes in just one week.
Lincoln County Humane Society said 15 of the 17 canines have been adopted from the Fourth Avenue shelter by dog lovers across Ontario.
“They went super fast,” said Kevin Strooband, executive director of the humane society, adding it was somewhat surprising because of their challenges and sizes.
“We’ve had cases in the past where we’ve had puppies or small-breed dogs and we get a lot of interest. Generally not so much for bigger, medium-sized to large dogs, so it’s positive to see that people have come out in droves to support our efforts.”
The 17 dogs were among 200 various mixed breeds that were rescued from a dog meat farm in Namyangju, South Korea, by Humane Society International with financial help from reality show judge and music producer Simon Cowell.
The dogs were sent to emergency shelters in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Lincoln County Humane Society picked up 17 of the dogs from a temporary shelter in Cambridge on Oct. 11 and announced on Oct. 31 they were ready for adoption.
The dogs hadn’t experienced a lot of interaction with humans and required socialization.
Courtney Welychka, senior animal care technician at the local humane society, said Thursday the dogs have been adapting to their new environment quickly. When they first arrived at the shelter, they couldn’t be leashed and had to be carried into the kennels.
“They would flip and flop on the leash, not want to walk and be on two legs,” she said. “Now they’re walking on a leash and they’re running. They’re accepting pets. They’ve really, really opened up to the volunteers especially and the staff.”
People have come into the shelter from as far away as Mississauga asking about the dogs rescued from the meat trade. Welychka said although many of the dogs aren’t house trained and need work on socialization, the adopters didn’t seem to be bothered by it.
“They’re still absolutely interested and they’re willing to put the work in, so it’s been really nice.”
Two Korean dogs are still waiting for homes — Suzi and Marcel.
Welychka said Suzi is the most socialized of all the dogs that came in. After being rescued from the farm, she lived in a foster home in Korea for a time because she was too small to travel. She’s a 10month-old, black and tan small shepherd mix.
Marcel was the largest dog of the group, a one-year-old red shepherd-type that must be in a home with no kids under 14 and no cats. As well, all of the Korean dogs need fenced-yard homes because they are skittish and can bolt.
The local humane society has 30 dogs in its kennel, so there are many non-Korean dogs available to adopt, too.
“As we always do, we encourage people to keep looking at the dogs we do have because they’re also great dogs,” Strooband said.
The dog meat farm in Namyangju was the 13th in South Korea shut down by Humane Society International.
The agency has been working to end the dog meat trade throughout Asia, reporting the dogs suffer due to conditions on the farms and are slaughtered in a brutal manner. It works with dog meat farmers to help them transition into new trades, such as growing mushrooms or chiles.
Davita Debruyne spends some time recently with Celine, a 10-month-old Spitz mix, one of the dogs rescued from South Korea and brought to Lincoln County Humane Society.