Ten dogs rescued from South Korea arrive at Larimer Humane Society

Seth Bodine

In a dog meat farm in Wonju, South Korea, dogs lived inside cramped cages exposed to the elements with limited food and were victims of neglect and abuse. Now, thanks to a partnership with the Humane Society International and the Larimer Humane Society, ten of those dogs have the opportunity for a new life and home. 

Four Mastiffs, three Jindo mixes, two Husky mixes and one Labrador mix arrived at the Larimer Humane society on May 2. The ten dogs were part of 250 that were rescued by the Humane Society International’s Animal Rescue Team. Many of the dogs suffer from ailments such as disease, injury or malnutrition. 

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This was the fifth dog meat farm that was closed down from the province, and Humane Society International has been working with dog meat farmers in South Korea to transition to other economic models, according to Judy Calhoun, executive director of Larimer Humane Society.

“The distinctions between pet dogs and meat dogs, while they’re still there, are narrowing,” Calhoun said. “The hope is that one of things that Humane Society International is doing is trying reduce that kind of distinction so these dogs could be adopted in their home country.” 

Judy Calhoun, Executive Director of Larimer Humane Society sits with Romeo, a Jindo mix that was rescued from a dog meat farm in South Korea
Judy Calhoun, Executive Director of Larimer Humane Society sits with Romeo, a Jindo mix that was rescued from a dog meat farm in South Korea (Photo credit: Seth Bodine.)

The dogs will receive medical, and behavioral evaluations and treatments from the Northern Colorado Regional Animal Welfare Coalition, Animal House and Black Dog Animal Rescue. The organizations will help them be ready for adoption by socializing them and treating any medical issues. 

The behavioral evaluation will be a slightly different process than the typical shelter dogs. 

“The behavioral evaluation will be a little bit different than what we typically do for our shelter dogs,” Calhoun said. “We’ll really involve our behavior and evaluation coordinator, and some of the staff from that team really taking a look and getting a sense of how social each dog is and how much they do respond to people and/or other dogs.” 

At Animal House, dogs will work with the foster care coordinator and the behavioral coordinator will collaborate to see what kind of training the dogs need before adoption. Advanced canine coach volunteers will help them into their new homes. 

“A lot of times even if we make progress with them in foster care with their behavior we’ll still have to teach their new owners how to work with their behavior further so they can continue to come out of their shell,” said Ali Eccleston, executive director of Animal House. “Dogs like these can be really shut down, but they really have a great potential to be a normal dog that you would never know had this background.”

The difficulties found in these dogs are ones organizations would see in any breed of dog that is raised in an environment similar to the one in South Korea where dogs receive sensory deprivation, according to Britney Wallesch, Executive Director of Black Dog Animal Rescue. 

“So these dogs coming from South Korea are not different from dogs we would see in the United States, and I think that’s important for potential adopters to understand that we’re not looking at kind of animal altogether, we’re looking at dogs who are a very predictable product of an environment,” Wallesch said. 

Collegian Assistant News Editor Seth Bodine can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @sbodine120.

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