Last Monday evening, more than a hundred dogs were rescued when a dog-meat truck was intercepted by Nanjing city police in the Hou Village area. Originating from Henan province in central China, the truck was headed towards Hangzhou approximately 300 kilometres south-east of Nanjing.
On a cold winter evening, many of the dogs were malnourished and hungry, when discovered. Crammed inside nine small wire cages in the back of the truck, the dogs were all medium or large breeds, which suggests that they were being transported to be sold for their meat.
Helping in the operation were several employees from Ping An A Fu (“Peace and Luck”), Nanjing’s biggest animal rescue centre, who were called out by the city authorities to assist in the relocation of the dogs.
The dogs were quickly taken to the centre’s office in Pukou district where a quarantine area was set up. Throughout the night, carers administered emergency treatment to the dogs, laying out straw mattresses for them to sleep on and providing them with much-needed food and water. Though all survived the night, several dogs have since succumb to their illnesses.
“Most of the dogs are healthy now although some still need continued medical attention,” Lu, a volunteer for Ping An A Fu, told The Nanjinger. “Deaths were simply unavoidable as the conditions of some of the dogs when we received them were just too dire.”
On social media, users have praised both Ping An A Fu and the Nanjing city police for their efforts. “The actions of Nanjing’s law enforcement are an example for the whole country!”, one Weibo user wrote. Others have donated money and dog food to the rescue centre who continues to take care of the dogs. Founded in 2002, the centre has over 10,000 animals in its care and regularly carries out rescues of dogs and cats from meat trucks.
Eating dog meat is popular in many parts of the country particularly in the winter months. However the practice has come under intense scrutiny in recent years as dog ownership has increased in China. Many dog-lovers accuse dog meat vendors of torturing and stealing dogs from their owners.
There are currently no laws against animal cruelty in China. The truck was intercepted by Nanjing city police because it was transporting dogs without the required documentation and was unable to prove the origins of the dogs. According to Wang, another volunteer for Ping An A Fu, the owner of the truck has not been punished and is trying to have the dogs returned to him.
“He (the truck owner) is saying that the dogs are his private property regardless of how he got hold of them,” Wang told me. “It is still possible that we will have to hand the dogs back to him.”