Ten puppies rescued from a dog farm in South Korea where they were destined to be killed and sold at canine meat markets, have made their way to Illinois — and seven of them have already found their forever homes.
Humane Society International rescued the puppies, along with 139 other dogs, from a dog meat farm in rural Yesan in July, according the organization.
The meat farm is one of many in South Korea, where dogs are killed to make a spicy soup said to boost stamina and virility. Every year, more than a million dogs are killed and eaten during South Korea's Bok Nai days of summer.
The puppies saved from Yesan have been transfered to animal shelters all across the U.S.
Linda Latelle, founder of Magnificent Mutts and Meows Rescue in Elmhurst, said when she got the call from HSI asking if the shelter could take in the 10 dogs, her answer was "Yes." Latelle and her team picked up the rescued pooches at Chicago's O’Hare International Airport and brought them home to Elmhurst to begin the process of preparing them for adoption.
Latelle said the first step was ensure the dogs received the medical treatment they needed. While caged in South Korean farms, the dogs are forced to live in their own feces, many with injuries and deep pressure sores, she said.
“It’s really important [the dogs] got their medical attention here,” Latelle said.
Training the dogs was the next step in their recovery process.
Aly Gentile, the marketing coordinator for the Elmhurst Animal Care Center, said the dogs had to learn “how to be dogs again.” Because of their past mistreatment, the dogs had to learn to trust humans.
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Throughout the process, Gentile used social media to bring attention to their plight and provide updates on their recovery. The 10 dogs, known as the Magnificent 10, began to gain attention on social media, and inquiries for their adoption followed soon after.
So far seven of the 10 dogs have been adopted.
Though the remaining three dogs from South Korea may be adopted before Clear the Shelters on Aug. 19, Magnificent Mutts and Meows Rescue have dozens of other adorable pets in need of a loving home.
Interested families can visit Magnificent Mutts Rescue and meet some of the dogs and cats prior to adoption.
The Yesan farm is the ninth dog meat farm that HSI has permanently closed since 2014, rescuing and relocating nearly 1,000 dogs.