British Columbia·Photos

Dogs rescued from illegal dog meat trade in Thailand come to Vancouver

“There are thousands upon thousands of dogs each year that are being put in these crates and eventually being tortured and killed,” said a volunteer with the Metro Vancouver organization taking in the dogs.

Dogs were rescued in Thailand, where they were stuffed into cages to be sent to meat markets in Asia

Dallas, one of the dogs rescued from the illegal dog meat trade, is six years old and 30 pounds, and is described as being calm and gentle. (Soi Dog Foundation/LEASH)

Eight dogs rescued from becoming dog meat in Asia are on their way to Vancouver to be rehabilitated and placed in caring homes.

The animals were rescued by the Soi Dog Foundation, a Thailand-based non-profit that saves dogs traded for meat — a practice which is illegal in that country.

Metro Vancouver-based organization Leading Each Animal Safely Home, or  LEASH, was asked to provide homes for the canines.

Five of the dogs will be arriving in Vancouver on April 23; the rest will arrive at a later date.

Dogs severely mistreated

Many of the dogs rescued by the Soi Dog Foundation are in bad condition — after being stolen from homes or taken off the streets, they are then packed into overcrowded cages on trucks and transported for days into Vietnam and China.

Buster is eight years old and 45 pounds. (Soi Dog Foundation/LEASH)

"There are thousands upon thousands of dogs each year that are being put in these crates and eventually being tortured and killed," said Ali Siemens, one of a half-dozen volunteers that make up LEASH.

The dogs coming to Vancouver are named Buster, Cherish, Dallas, Sasha, Sylvester, Woodpecker, Chuririat and Satiya.

The organization will first place the canines with people in their network of foster owners, and the dogs will be available for adoption after they're rehabilitated.

Buster is eight years old, 45 pounds, and is said to be very respectful. (Soi Dog Foundation/LEASH)

"As the fosters take them in it's basically working with them to bring them out of their shell," Siemens said.

"A lot of them have dealt with some pretty traumatic experiences, and it gives us time to give that full assessment. Because ultimately it's our goal to find the best possible home for them and make sure they have a family that's most suitable to the dog and vice versa."

A second chance

Siemens said dog trainers and other specialists work with the foster families to help rehabilitate all the displaced dogs the organization comes across.

"You can really watch a dog flourish after they just received that kind of care," she said. "It's a lot like a human, we need love to be able to thrive."

Woodpecker (left) is three-and-a-half years old, while Cherish is about six years old. (Soi Dog Foundation/LEASH)

The Soi Dog Foundation works with the Thai authorities to stop trucks carrying dogs for the meat trade at the country's borders, and also set up a hotline people there can call if they spot these kinds of trucks.

The foundation, which runs a shelter in Phuket, also helps homeless, neglected and abused dogs and cats, and runs sterilization programs to help reduce the number of unwanted animals on the street.

LEASH also works with a variety of Canadian shelters, including Save a Dog Network Canada in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories SPCA.

LEASH said they will continue to work with Soi Dog and may take in more dogs from them in the future.

Those who are interested in adopting one of the dogs from Thailand, or any other dogs the organization is currently looking after, can go to LEASH's website and fill out an application form.

Sylvester is five years old, and 45 pounds. (Soi Dog Foundation/LEASH)

"Every animal deserves to be warm and safe. And we have a compassion for animals, no matter what part of the world they come from," Siemens said.

"Pet overpopulation is a global issue. We are a no-border rescue, so we look to partner with shelters … Whether based in Thailand or Canada, we're here for the dogs."

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