Dogs saved from dinner looking for new homes

Updated: 2012-01-20 08:09

By Jin Zhu (China Daily)

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Dogs saved from dinner looking for new homes 

More than 1,100 saved dogs are kept in cages at a nearly 1,000-sq-m unused workshop in the suburbs of Chongqing on Jan 17. Fan Fan / for China Daily 

BEIJING - More than 1,100 dogs saved from going to the slaughterhouse several days ago in Chongqing, Southwest China, still lack permanent places to settle down, local animal activists said.

The dogs, which have sufficient food and water, are being kept in cages at a nearly 1,000-sq-m unused workshop in the city suburbs.

Chen Mingcai, head of the Chongqing Small Animal Protection Association, told China Daily on Thursday that an animal lover provided the warehouse for free.

With the help of local police, 1,137 dogs were saved on Monday from a truck by a courageous blogger, a 40-year-old volunteer of the association surnamed Peng, and had first been kept at an abandoned pig farm in the city.

All the dogs were scheduled to go to the slaughterhouse for dinner tables.

"Dogs could not be taken good care of in the remote pig farm due to its limited space and insufficient food and water supply. So we moved them to the current building on Wednesday," Chen said.

The rescue has attracted great attention in the city in the past few days and hundreds of pet lovers and animal activists have offered help to the association, local media reported.

Thanks to donations by pet lovers, dog food is sufficient for the next 20 to 30 days, he said.

"Now we urgently need more professional volunteers to come and take care of the dogs as many people are going home as the Chinese New Year is approaching," the volunteer surnamed Peng said.

By Thursday afternoon, 16 dogs had died from severe injury or distemper. Another 30 seriously ill dogs were sent to a nearby hospital for further treatment, statistics from the association showed.

"The association plans to rent another building to put other sick dogs under quarantine in the next few days to ensure most dogs can survive," Chen said.

But finding a suitable place for the more than 1,000 dogs to live permanently seems an unattainable task for the association, he said.

Chen estimated that about 20 percent of the dogs will be adopted by local pet lovers since there are excellent dog varieties, such as husky and chow.

"For the rest of about 800 dogs, at least a 1.3-hectare area with dog houses is needed for them to have comfortable lives. Now I am thinking about calling for more social donations to build dog houses," he said.

Animal rights professionals said such cases involving shipping hundreds of terrified dogs and cats for dinner tables is common in the country due to a lack of legal animal protection.

In a recent case, two animal protection organizations paid about 83,000 yuan ($13,000) to a dog trader in Zigong, a city in Sichuan province, to rescue nearly 800 dogs that were to be delivered to restaurants in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in October.

Since October, dogs and cats must be sent to quarantine before being shipped, according to a regulation issued by the Ministry of Agriculture.

The regulation was seen as an effective way to protect such animals since eating animals that have been vaccinated may harm people's health.

"But as the country lacks regulation on the slaughter of cats and dogs, dealers will not be punished when they ship dead or sick animals for dinner tables. Therefore, such cruel business cannot be easily banned in the near future," said Cai Chunhong, a Beijing lawyer who focuses on animal protection.

China Daily