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Idaho receives dogs rescued from backyard breeder in South Korea

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Posted at 3:09 PM, Jun 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-02 17:09:01-04

Dogs found chained and living in filth at an operation to supply a meat market in South Korea have been rescued -- and were brought to the Idaho Humane Society in Boise Friday.

The twelve dogs arrived in Boise Friday morning after they were rescued by Humane Society International officials.

Authorities said the dogs were kept in dismal conditions at a backyard breeding operation for the dog meat trade in Seongnam, South Korea.

The Idaho Humane Society will take over care of the dogs and handle their adoptions, officials said.

The dogs were transported to Boise with the help of the group Dog Is My CoPilot, Inc., a nonprofit animal rescue air transportation organization.

Humane Society rescuers found the dogs living in filthy conditions, chained to cages with little space to move. The owner of the property reportedly bred the dogs to supply a nearby dog meat market.

HSI rescued fourteen dogs from the property, but one dog was pregnant and will remain in Seoul at a boarding facility with her puppies, according to a Humane Society news release.

One dog will be placed for adoption with the San Francisco SPCA.

"These dogs are in desperate need of a second chance, and we know the people of Boise will give them the love and care they were deprived of since they were born," said Kelly O'Meara, director of companion animals and engagement with Humane Society International. "We found them in chains, living in filth, and isolated. The breeder, who was raising them in his backyard, gave them up to us because the dog meat business in South Korea is dying. This is a good sign -- but we still have a long way to go to eliminate the dog meat trade in Korea.”

The most recent rescue dogs were temporarily housed at the San Francisco SPCA after they arrived in the U.S. Dog Is My CoPilot then flew them to Boise.

"When we heard of this situation, we juggled our already-busy rescue flight schedule to accommodate this transport need," said Dr. Peter Rork, president of Dog Is My CoPilot. "We are always happy to help, but especially in an egregious situation such as this."    

The Idaho Humane Society is a Humane Society of the United States Emergency Placement Partner, one in a network of organizations across the country that are on call to assist in finding homes for animals rescued from large-scale abuse and neglect cases. While HSI and HSUS cover the logistics and costs of these rescue efforts, they turn to local shelters to handle adoptions, officials said. HSUS approached IHS about this particular situation, knowing it has the space and resources to rehabilitate and find homes for the twelve dogs.

"The Treasure Valley is an amazing pet-loving community," said Idaho Humane Society CEO Jeff Rosenthal. "We're blessed with abundant adoptions; and thus have the resources available to not only help local pets but (also) those from overcrowded regional shelters, suffering in difficult situations. We are very excited to find loving homes for these dogs that deserve a fresh start after tragic beginnings."

IHS has continued to see a decline in the number of homeless animals coming through its doors, meaning it is increasingly able to assist animals suffering in difficult situations elsewhere.

IHS transfers in dogs -- and occasionally even cats -- from other Idaho shelters on an almost-weekly basis, and routinely assists out-of-state shelters as well, according to a Humane Society news release.

In 2017 alone, IHS has transferred in more than 860 animals from other organizations. Transfers accounted for 11 percent of the Idaho Humane Society's total intake in 2016.

Since 2014, Humane Society International has rescued 839 dogs in South Korea, mainly from the country's dog farms, closing seven farms to date.