Dogs Rescued From South Korea Puppy Mill

Rescuers remove dogs from puppy mill and dog meat farm
By Karen B. London PhD, February 2019, Updated June 2021

It has become increasingly unpopular to eat dog meat in South Korea in recent years, which is happy news. Even better, 200 dogs were recently rescued from a facility that sold dogs to restaurants for food. The business also operated as a puppy mill, selling dogs as pets. If they were not lucky enough to be taken as a pet, they were then sold as food. All the dogs were kept in dirty cramped cages with wire bottoms. The dogs were often without water and some had limb deformities because of the horrid conditions in which they lived.

International Animal Rescue

An international rescue organization, Humane Society International, removed all the dogs from the facility and shipped them to the United States to be adopted as pets. Some will receive rehabilitation and training at a Louisiana prison before being placed in permanent homes. Though the prison and the forever homes will all be unbelievably luxurious compared to the cruelty of the farm where they were born and raised, many are traumatized and will struggle to adjust to such a different environment. That’s an extra cruelty of puppy mills—not only are dogs treated terribly there, they are unprepared for all the new experiences and objects they will face in a new place.

Growing Stigma

The stigma in South Korea of eating dog, especially among younger people, is so strong that the man who owned the combination dog meat farm and puppy mill was ashamed and didn’t like to tell people what he did for a living. His family was opposed to his work and always had been. The international rescue group signed a contract with the farmer to keep him out of the meat trade for 20 years. (It’s not clear why there was no contract to stay permanently out of that line of work.) The farmer is happy to be out of that business because it has become less profitable and because he was not proud of his work. He plans to further his education and change careers.

Hopefully, the decline in consumption of dog meat in South Korea will lead to a complete end to the practice.

photo by Erick Pleitez/Flickr

Karen B. London, Ph.D. is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral issues, including aggression. Karen writes the animal column for the Arizona Daily Sun and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of six books about canine training and behavior, including her most recent, Treat Everyone Like a Dog: How a Dog Trainer’s World View Can Improve Your Life