Another 171 dogs rescued as Chinese police smash illegal dog meat slaughterhouse

08 November 2018

As one lady searched for her lost canine companion, she had no idea she would end up saving nearly 200 stolen dogs from brutal deaths.

On Sunday 4 November, police in Chengdu, China raided an illegal dog meat slaughterhouse and sent all 171 dogs to the Sichuan Qiming Small Animal Protection Centre for health care and rehabilitation.

Many of the rescued dogs are clearly stolen pets and steps will now be taken to re-unite them with their guardians and find new homes.

On arrival at the slaughterhouse, police found piles of dead dog carcasses stacked high in a refrigerated room. The slaughterhouse was unable to produce any certification for their slaughtering activities and five workers were arrested.

Animals Asia has been assisting Qiming as they tackle the huge task of caring for 171 newly rescued dogs, by providing vaccinations, testing kits for infectious diseases and three tonnes of dog food.

Animals Asia Cat and Dog Welfare Director Irene Feng said:

“The swift and tough crackdown by the Chengdu police sends a strong message to dog thieves and illegal butchers that they are not above the law. Their cruel trade is breaking hearts as they steal deeply loved companion animals, and their complete lack of regard for laws and hygiene make them a serious threat to wider public health.”

Media have reported that the slaughterhouse was discovered as a local woman searched for her lost Belgian Malinois.

The lady, identified by media as Mrs Peng, travelled to Jianyang city and was told of a slaughterhouse in Kuixing village.

When she entered the slaughterhouse, her dog immediately recognised her and began jumping up.

Although she was afraid to tell the workers this was her stolen companion, Mrs Peng tried to negotiate to buy the dog back, but after leaving to make a phone call to her husband, she returned to find her dog had been killed.

She filmed the scene and contacted local police, which led to the raid and eventual rescue of 171 dogs.

Animals Asia Founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE said:

“Images from the scene of this slaughterhouse are absolutely horrific and have pulled back the curtain on this brutal trade for many people. And it is heartening to see the public, the authorities and local charities all working together to stamp out this cruel industry and do what is right for the animals.

“This rescue wouldn’t have been possible without authorities taking the issue seriously and being willing to collaborate with partners in the charity sector. Similarly, without the local charities there would be nowhere to send the surviving dogs, and without an animal loving public like Mrs Peng, the shadowy slaughterhouse could have got away with their illegal activities for many more years.”

Last month, police in Chengdu’s Xindu district uncovered meat traders holding 120 dogs without proof of origin.

All 120 animals were rescued and sent to Sichuan Qiming Small Animal Protection Centre where they will be cared for while the legal case against the suspects continues. With the animals considered “evidence” in the case, they cannot be re-homed but they can be returned to their original guardians.

Irene said:

“This incident shows how much progress has been made in terms of collaboration and the increased seriousness with which the authorities are treating dog meat trade related crime. But more needs to be done.

“We’ll continue to work with our partners in government and to encourage them to strengthen supervision and law enforcement in each stage of the industry supply chain, including stronger penalties for stealing and poisoning dogs, cracking down on the illegal slaughter and trade of dogs, and stopping the continued the illicit trafficking of dogs.“

The number of animal welfare organisations in China has rocketed in the last decade. In 2006, there were just 30 domestic welfare groups, while today more than 200 are working to help animals in need.

Animals Asia currently funds or mentors and astonishing 60% of all China’s local animal welfare organisations.

The charity also works with authorities across the country encouraging local governments to work with animal welfare groups to develop advanced, humane, science-based policies governing legal guardians and departments in charge of stray populations.

To date, more than 523 officials from 51 cities across the country have attended Animals Asia’s Dog Ownership Management Symposium – covering every single principality in China, and 65% of all provincial capitals.

Qiming have attended five of Animals Asia’s Dog Ownership Management Symposiums and the two organisations have a long history of collaboration going back a decade.

Officer Li from Chengdu Dog Ownership Management Office addresses the symposium

The two groups have worked together to care for animals after earthquakes in 2008 and 2013, while Animals Asia has donated materials such as vaccines and food on numerous occasions over the past 10 years as well as providing funding to improve Qiming’s shelter infrastructure.