Four dogs are in quarantine at the Virginia Beach SCPA after being rescued from a South Korean dog meat farm by Humane Society International.
Each of the dogs was deemed healthy following a 30-day quarantine before traveling to the United States, but the VBSPCA is taking extra steps to make their transition to pet-hood as smooth as possible, agency medical director Allison Genovese said.
The rehabilitation process began on Jan. 12 when the canines arrived, and VBSPCA staff report the dogs are making progress medically and behaviorally.
The room where the dogs are currently housed is more soothing than isolating. Light music and essential oils are used to provide a calming atmosphere. Pheromones are also released by Adaptil diffusers to help decrease the dogs’ stress levels, Genovese said.
Dixie and Sun Dance, the two adult dogs in the bunch, are already showing an affinity to human interaction, which leads staff to believe they are former pets.
According to SPCA director Jenny Teed, many of the canines found on the South Korean meat farms are stolen family dogs.
Dixie is set to be taken to a foster home next week for further socialization, but must undergo several medical procedures before she can be released, Genovese said.
“When she came to us, the tip of her tail was completely infected, and she will undergo a partial tail amputation,” she said. “In addition to that, she tried to chew out of her cage in South Korea and fractured all of her front teeth, so she is undergoing a major dental procedure to remove those teeth.”
A private donor has already pledged the funds for Dixie’s treatment, according to Genovese.
The VBSPCA recognizes animal mistreatment can happen anywhere, but South Korean dog farms often reach a new level of cruelty by purposely torturing animals before they’re killed, Teed said.
Unlike the adult dogs, staff believe the two puppies they received were born on the dog meat farm, and have suffered some behavioral challenges as a result.
“These guys are so young and were born in captivity, so the only life that they know has not included much human interaction,” Genovese said. “They have not been shown love before. They only know fear, but they’ve come a long way.”
Louis, a small 16-week-old puppy, suffered from a severe skin rash and dehydration when he arrived to the shelter. Now, his hair is starting to grow back, and he’s learned how to use potty pads.
Frank, the other puppy, was scared of interacting with humans and would not take treats, but now he is taking his medication each day in hot dogs.
The shelter has agreed to receive two additional dogs next week from Humane Society International, which provides full funding for the transportation of the animals from South Korea to the states, Teed said.
“We know these dogs are a drop in the bucket, but we are going to do everything we can to help them,” she said. “It’s important that we make the public aware of this issue.”
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