GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Bernard and Louie, two Korean Jindo-mix puppies, spent Monday evening at the Alachua County Humane Society, sporting sweaters and enjoying cuddles from welcoming caregivers.
But things could have gone much worse for the two young canines.
The pair are among nearly 200 dogs rescued from a South Korean “meat farm” in early December, and if animal advocates had not intervened, likely would have been used for food.
According to the Humane Society International’s website, South Korea is the only country in Asia where dogs are routinely farmed for human consumption. Around 2 million dogs are kept in nearly 17,000 facilities there and the dogs are neglected, malnourished and killed on a daily basis.
Humane Society International has set a goal to put an end to the dog meat trade. Closing dog meat farms and bringing the dogs to safety in the U.S., United Kingdom and Canada is part of that plan.
Margot DeConna, director of development for the Alachua County Humane Society, said Bernard and Louie have spent the past month at a temporary shelter in South Korea, where they were placed by Humane Society International to socialize with other animals.
Before the dogs were brought to the U.S., the Humane Society of the United States reached out to Alachua County Humane Society officials to ask if they’d be interested in taking in any of the dogs that were headed for Florida.
DeConna said the shelter typically takes only local dogs but decided to make an exception for Bernard and Louie.
“Since it was such a small number of dogs, we decided we could certainly make room for them in our program,” she said.
Chrissy Sedgley, operations director for the Alachua County Humane Society, said Bernard and Louie are two of four dogs from their litter. The other two pups are still in South Korea, waiting to come to the U.S.
It is not yet known if the other two dogs will join Bernard and Louie in Alachua County, but Sedgley said she’s got her fingers crossed.
“Hopefully, they will reach out to us when they arrange transport,” Sedgley said.
The next step for Bernard and Louie is for them to go through the basic examinations that all shelter dogs must complete so they can find their new homes.
“They will get boosters for all of their vaccines and then they will be scheduled to be neutered and microchipped,” Sedgley said.
Once those exams are done, they’ll be ready for adoption, something DeConna predicts will happen quickly.
“I think they are going to be highly, highly adoptable,” she said.