October 5th, 2011 by Christy Griffin
Every dog is a story. In South Korea, millions of dogs are subjected to the most unimaginable agony until their last breath, at grim and squalid dog meat farms and meat markets—the very bowels of existence—with their pitiless smell of human injustice and cruelty. They come to sorrow in these hellish places, imprisoned in filthy and desolate cages, where puppies are usually separated from their mothers, all awaiting their fate. According to a persistent and mystifying belief, the greater the terror and pain a dog experiences while dying—the more he suffers—the more intense the boost in adrenaline in the flesh for a tastier meat, as well as a real boon for a man’s virility. A life snuffed out. Everyday cruelties perpetrated casually and without remorse.
As every dog is a story, every rescue is a story—jubilation-bringing rescues that are rays of light in a realm of darkness.
Happy Angels Dog Rescue, in Los Angeles, California, not only rescues dogs from high-kill shelters and off the streets of L.A., but also funds, transports, and places dogs from South Korea. Working with various South Korean animal organizations, including IDA’s partner Coexistence for Animal Rights on Earth (CARE) and Young-Jin Kwon of the newly formed People Defending Animals, dogs are saved from dog meat slaughterhouses, dog meat farms, restaurants that serve dog meat, S. Korean shelters, and individual abuse cases. Because many South Korean dog lovers clamor for purebreds, especially puppies, adult dogs of mixed breeds find it much more difficult to find homes there. After rescue, the South Korean organizations foster and assist in the transportation of the dogs.
Founded in June, 2008, by Stephanie Jeong, Happy Angels has transported about 150 S. Korean dogs to be placed in permanent homes in Los Angeles. The following stories highlight an odyssey of unremittingly bleak lives, and miraculous endings.
Click ‘Read More’ to read these amazing and heartwarming stories!
Koa (formerly Ku-Won) was born and raised on a dog farm that breeds and sells dogs for their meat in Po-Chon, S. Korea. At only two months old, another dog attacked him in his cage, which resulted in the amputation of a leg. Ku-Won could no longer be sold as “healthy” dog meat, so in June of 2008 the dog farmer voluntarily turned the ‘damaged goods’ over to CARE. Happy Angels raised enough money for Ku-Won’s flight to L.A., where he received immediate special attention and much-needed re-amputation surgery. Because of his disability, he was seen as unadoptable in S. Korea. Ku-Won healed and was adopted by a loving family in Orange County who call him Koa. He now lives blissfully on three legs.
Charlie (formerly Chun-Ha) was rescued from South Korea just before somebody was preparing to eat him. Fortunately, a passerby witnessed Chun-Ha being tortured. A man was forcefully putting him in a pot of boiling water. After convincing the man to stop what he was doing, Chun-Ha was rescued by CARE. After all he’d been through, he was expected to be fearful and traumatized, but Chun-Ha possesses the spirit of a lion; he is brave of heart, happy, energetic, and loves being held. He excels at playing fetch. Still carrying a permanent scar that covers more than 50 percent of his back from being scolded with boiling water, Chun-Ha may possibly have been torched as well. He was about one when he endured his nightmarish torture and, for five years following his rescue, he never found a home in South Korea because, being scarred, he was seen as unadoptable. Chun-Ha was transported to Los Angeles on June 13th, 2008, and was adopted to a family that delights in outdoor activities with their Charlie.
TOTO and COCO
CARE rescued Toto and Coco, formerly Sae-Byok, from a meat farm in 2010. It was believed they were siblings since they are similar in age and in appearance. Toto and Coco flew to L.A. in search of finding their forever homes. Coco was adopted through Happy Angels Dog Rescue in September, 2010. Toto is still searching for his family.
CARE rescued Kong-Tok, along with 18 other dogs, from a meat farm in In-Cheon, S. Korea, in October, 2006. She was only about six months at the time. She flew to Los Angeles in November, 2010, hoping to find a loving family. She is a very outgoing and affectionate girl who will blossom if she is the only dog in the home.
Hye-Sook Kim, a pug rescuer in S. Korea, has rescued about 50 Pugs and Happy Angels transported them to L.A., and found homes for all of them.
A newly rescued Cocker Spaniel, Semmy, was saved from a dog meat restaurant in the outskirts of Seoul. She was tied outside on a very short chain, and beaten frequently by the restaurant owners. She was rescued just before she was to be killed. She flew into L.A. on Sept 24th, 2011, and is currently available for adoption. She is estimated to be a year old and is pure joy. She is being fostered in Fullerton, CA.
Alex, a Miniature Dachshund, was abandoned at a gas station in Dong-Hae City, S. Korea. His original family left him there in the middle of the night and fled the scene. A gas station employee found him in the morning and brought him to Dong-Hae City Shelter. He is about five to six years old and is a very charming fellow. He flew into L.A. on Sept 3rd, 2011. He is available for adoption and is currently being fostered in Marina del Rey, CA.
South Korean Dog and Cat Campaign
IDA’s South Korean Dog and Cat Campaign, in concert with our partners Coexistence for Animal Rights on Earth (CARE) and Korean Animal Rights Advocates (KARA), is working to rid South Korea of the old way of thinking—the myths and prejudices about dogs (companion and edible) and cats (reviled) and their monstrous consequences, as well as the hollow and contradictory laws regarding dog meat and the officials who unashamedly sanction them. Our hope is to inspire thinking anew, a deepening of consciousness about the anguish and cruelty that animals suffer daily through undercover investigations, lawsuits, protests, outreach, and reform proposals to establish the illegitimacy of dog meat. As Bertrand Russell said,” Moral progress has consisted in the main of protest against cruel customs, and of attempts to enlarge human sympathy.”