Catastrophic Fire at Our South Korean Dog Meat Rescue Won’t Stop Us
Last week, we were beyond shocked and devastated when a catastrophic fire tore through our rescue partner Jindo Love Rescue’s foster center in Gimhae, South Korea. Everything inside was lost, 20 dogs didn’t survive, more are still receiving critical care and others are missing. While the situation is heartbreaking and overwhelming, thinking about how the lives of hundreds of dogs and people have been changed epically for the better since we partnered, a world where Jindo Love Rescue doesn’t exist simply isn’t an option — but we need your help to rebuild.
Since partnering in 2017, we’ve saved more than 700 dogs from becoming victims of the dog meat trade and flown them to forever homes in the U.S. and Canada. That’s just a number, but every single one of those dogs has a story and they each became someone who was loved as soon as we rescued them — and there’s nothing better than updates from adopters about how they’re thriving in their new homes.
Seeing dogs like Kola going from being chained tightly to a wall to cuddling with his adopters, playing in his new yard and lounging in a comfy bed, to watching Judy sprung from her cage to blossoming in the care of our own communications director, and Joona learning how to trust again after being pulled straight from a packed crate on a dog meat truck headed to slaughter — among too many amazing outcomes to list here — makes all the hard work worth it.
Largely thanks to generous In Defense of Animals supporters, we are able to give these dogs a second chance. So much goes into each one of these dogs, from veterinary care and helping them overcome past trauma to showing them life can be good and humans can be kind. Jindo Love Rescue’s incredible team carefully matches each precious dog with the perfect adopter, handles the logistics of international travel, and uniquely provides lifetime support to everyone who welcomes one of these dogs into their lives; our joint commitment to Korea’s dog meat victims is truly unparalleled.
“The experience with Jindo Love is different, it’s a community. I feel like I’m not Kola’s only keeper, he has all of these people rooting for him, checking on him, sending love and good wishes to him and our family,” said Kola’s adopter, Azadeh Rahmani.
We’ve Lost Everything, But Dogs Still Need Us
The loss of the foster center, which was home to more than 120 dogs, is beyond tragic. Everything is gone; we lost food, bedding, records, crates, toys, and equipment. Our beloved foster mom, who cares for the dogs at the center, lost her home too. Still, thinking about everything that’s been accomplished, and the dogs who still desperately need help, means there’s no choice but to rebuild — there can’t be a world without Jindo Love Rescue.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated, and it will be months before we find out if or how much the insurance will cover. Right now the surviving dogs urgently need help.
Cubby, who lost his best friend Dion in the fire, is in critical care and being treated for serious burns. Jade was still waiting for her forever home; now she can barely open her eyes after being exposed to burning debris and smoke and is also in critical care. Hamlet, whose smile and joy used to light up the room, isn’t doing well either.
We’re waiting with bated breath for updates about them and others who were seriously injured and suffered from burns and smoke inhalation, and hoping for the best, all while veterinary costs are skyrocketing.
Despite the heartache and shattering grief, our team is working round-the-clock to ensure every dog is getting the help they need and figuring out a way forward.
We’re also forever grateful to everyone who has stepped in to help on the ground, especially volunteers who are searching for missing dogs and helping transport those who survived.
Right after the fire, dozens of survivors were moved to a shelter gracious enough to offer support. Over the past few days, we moved 21 of them to our special training school where 14 dogs were already staying, bringing the total there to 35. It’s a necessary but expensive solution that costs $150 per dog every month. We have moved a handful to foster homes, and seven are still at the shelter, but they all need a place to go. Temporary housing is an urgent issue for us.
Cleanup has started and we now estimate costs to recover will be closer to $150,000 with veterinary care, supplies, and construction of the building — but we’re not going to give up. With so many dogs counting on us, that’s just not an option; but we also can’t rebuild without your help.
It is only with the generosity of caring people like you that we’ve been able to save so many lives from an unthinkable fate in the dog meat trade, and it will only be with that same generosity that we can continue to do so.