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IHS welcomes 12 dogs from South Korea

A group of 12 dogs arrived safely in the Treasure Valley Friday morning after they were rescued by Humane Society International from dismal conditions at a backyard breeding operation for the dog meat trade in Seongnam, South Korea. The Idaho Humane Society will take over care of the dogs and handle adoptions.

The dogs were transported to Boise with the help of Dog Is My CoPilot, Inc., a nonprofit animal rescue air transportation organization.

HSI rescuers found the dogs living in filthy conditions, chained to cages with little space to move. The owner of the property bred the dogs to supply a nearby dog meat market. HSI rescued 14 dogs from the property, but one dog was pregnant and will remain in Seoul at a boarding facility with her puppies. One dog will be placed for adoption with the San Francisco SPCA.

“These dogs are in desperate need of a second chance, and we know the people of Boise will give them the love and care they were deprived of since they were born,” said Kelly O’Meara, director of companion animals and engagement with Humane Society International. “We found them in chains, living in filth and isolated. The breeder, who was raising them in his backyard, gave them up to us because the dog meat business in South Korea is dying. This is a good sign but we still have a long way to go to eliminate the dog meat trade in Korea.”

The Idaho Humane Society is a Humane Society of the United States Emergency Placement Partner, one in a network of organizations across the country that are on call to assist in finding homes for animals rescued from large-scale abuse and neglect cases. While HSI and HSUS cover the logistics and costs of these rescue efforts, they turn to local shelters to handle adoptions. HSUS approached IHS about this particular situation, knowing it has the space and resources to rehabilitate and find homes for these 12 dogs.

“The Treasure Valley is an amazing pet-loving community,” said Idaho Humane Society CEO Jeff Rosenthal. “We’re blessed with abundant adoptions and thus have the resources available to not only help local pets but increasingly those from overcrowded regional shelters as well as those suffering in difficult situations elsewhere. We are very excited to find loving homes for these dogs that deserve a fresh start after tragic beginnings.”

IHS has continued to see a decline in the number of homeless animals coming through its doors, meaning it is increasingly able to assist animals suffering in difficult situations elsewhere. IHS transfers in dogs and occasionally even cats from other Idaho shelters on an almost weekly basis and routinely assists out-of-state shelters as well. In 2017 alone, IHS has transferred in more than 860 animals from other organizations. Transfers accounted for 11 percent of the Idaho Humane Society’s total intake in 2016.

Since 2014, Humane Society International has rescued 839 dogs in South Korea, mainly from the country’s dog farms, closing seven farms to date. HSI has found that many dog meat farmers in South Korea are eager to leave the trade and transition to new livelihoods. Most people in South Korea don’t regularly eat dogs, and the practice is increasingly out of favor with the younger generation.

These most recent rescue dogs were temporarily housed at the San Francisco SPCA after they arrived in the U.S. Dog Is My CoPilot then flew them to Boise.

“When we heard of this situation, we juggled our already busy rescue flight schedule to accommodate this transport need,” said Peter E. Rork, M.D., president of and pilot for Dog Is My CoPilot. “We are always happy to help, but especially in such an egregious situation such as this.”

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