A Slaughterhouse Shutdown in Cambodia
Six of the rescued dogs fly to the US to find a loving home
Tucked away on a remote village in Cambodia, our team uncovered dark horrific secrets. Our team discovered a slaughterhouse proving to be the largest supplier of dog meat in the province, killing more than 2,000 dogs per year, and contributing to the 3 million dogs killed every year in Cambodia for their meat.
Despite the staggering number of victims yearly, the Dog and Cat Meat Trade in Cambodia has received little attention in recent years in comparison to the Chinese Yulin festival and dog meat farms throughout Korea.
Our stray animal care team led by Dr. Katherine Polak negotiated the shutdown of this small but mighty supplier of dog meat down for good, to ensure no dog was harmed again, and that the remaining animals were saved and rehabilitated. They deserved a second chance.
Among the ten animals rescued on this property were two dogs the owner had kept in the slaughter cage as good luck charms. For two years, ever since they were just puppies, Andy and Boomer watched as countless dogs were crammed alongside them, each one fighting for their lives in fear, starving, injured, and hopeless. Each day, they witnessed their companions being brutalized. A reality that is all too common for the dogs and cats of Cambodia.
Boomer, Maddie, Gabby, Hope, Archie and Widget fought to survive, and we are now giving them a life where they can be safe from the trade forever. After weeks of rehabilitation at our partner shelter Animal Rescue Cambodia, our teammate from the Boston based crew flew to Cambodia to accompany the lucky 6 back to the U.S. where they would recover with our partner shelter, Connect A Pet New England, from their journey and eventually be put up for adoption.
After a journey of a lifetime, all six dogs are happily adopted into their forever homes in New England. Their new families can’t imagine their lives without them. These dogs escaped gruesome death, and now they spend their days playing in their yards with their new four legged siblings, chasing their two legged siblings around at the park, hiking through the woods, and enjoying endless naps on the couch after a long day. These dogs are finally where they deserve to be, with the families who deserve to have them as their own, where they will never get stolen into the trade again.
These rescues and transports are just one approach in the multi-faceted campaign of FOUR PAWS to end the dog and cat meat trade in Southeast Asia.
Boomer was kept in a cage along with Andy for over two years, as they were believed to be good luck charms. Every day he witnessed dozens of dogs being slaughtered before him. Boomer is a bold dog, but he found the outside world intimidating after rescue. After some time adjusting, Boomer was playful, eager to cuddle with our staff and clearly recovering from his past.
After being brought to the U.S. Boomer flourished in his foster home. He quickly found his forever home and he now spends his days running and wrestling with his dog brother in the backyard or lounging on the couch with the family. “Boomer is the most amazing dog, it’s like he was meant to be here. Transitioning was easy for him, he is great with kids, listens very well and absolutely loves his new dog sister Mia. He is a perfect fit.” - Boomer’s forever Mom.
When our team saved Gabby, she was so fearful of humans she froze and hid to protect herself. After time at our partner shelter, Animal Rescue Cambodia, Gabby slowly learned she our staff was there to protect her. Once winning her over, she would jump around at your feet, roll on her back for belly rubs, and curl up in your lap to watch the other dogs play.
When Gabby arrived to the U.S. she settled right into her foster home who had recently adopted Neary (now Maisie), from our October transport. Her foster Mom referred to Gabby and Maisie as her "Cambodian bouncing beans" because they loved to play and chase each other around the house all day. You would never know that both dogs, now playful loving and care-free, came from horrific slaughterhouses in Southeast Asia. Gabby’s foster mother quickly fell in love and proudly accepted her next Cambodian foster failure/success and adopted Gabby! “She has been by my side since the first night. She and Maisie are so comical together, chasing and playing constantly. The life they lived before is much different than the spoiled life they live now!”
Hope was terribly anxious when humans approached her and took time to adjust and trust. Hiding in the back of her cage until fully trusting, Hope was slowly coming out of her shell after her rescue. After the slaughterhouse shut down, Hope, along with the others had time to start building positive relationships with humans, and were given time to learn they were finally safe.
Her journey across the world brought her to a new life, far from harm in New Hampshire where she spends her days with her Mom and Dad, playing around the house with her toys, going on long walks in her winter coat and napping. Once destined for slaughter, Hope now receives special attention from her forever Mom who recently retired, and is always by her side. “After losing our puppy we rescued from Puerto Rico suddenly we were too devastated to think about adopting again. But when I saw Hope’s picture I could see the sadness in her eyes, and I knew she needed us. Now, she is so happy here and completely trusts me. Hope has hope now.” - Debbie, Hope’s forever Mom.
Widget, unlike the others, knew immediately her fate was in good hands when our team rescued her. As soon as she arrived at the shelter after the slaughter house closure for rehabilitation and treatment, she greeted the staff jumping and howling with excitement. Widget has a big personality and it was clear to us she was ready to be a happy American dog, safe from the trade forever.
This happy girl knew she was headed to a better life and bravely took on the journey to America. She quickly found her forever home in New Hampshire and enjoys running around the house, playing with her toys endlessly, and napping on her comfy couch. Widget was destined for slaughter and now lives a life where she gets carried to bed by her human every night and snuggled before curling up to go to sleep. Her forever Mom states “I know I am guilty of spoiling her, but it works as long as she doesn’t get much bigger!” Her energetic and happy demeanor despite what she had been through was a clear sign she knew a better life was out there waiting for her. And she was right.
Among the 10 awaiting slaughter, was Archie. After rescue, Archie’s boisterous cage-mate Widget helped him come out of his shell. Though he was still hesitant with the staff at the shelter, Widget was showing him that humans were safe as she howled, jumped played and wrestled with anyone who would come in contact with her. Archie would curiously and slowly follow her lead. Though he took more time to interact, it was obvious Archie was growing more fond of people by the day.
After his journey to America, Archie settled right into his foster home where he enjoyed staying active, learning basic commands, and enjoying his first Christmas safe from harm. You would never know what Archie had been through based on how well he adjusted to his new forever life in the states. Now he enjoys the life he truly deserves in his New England home.
Maddie (now Olive)
The last dog to be removed from the rusty, overcrowded cage at the slaughter house was Maddie (now Olive). She refused with all of her strength as she was sure those rescuing her were only their to harm and torture her next for meat. It took the entire team to lift and turn the cage in order to eventually pull Maddie out of it. She thought she was fighting for her life.
Olive had been so traumatized by what happened to her in the Dog and Cat Meat Industry that she crawled anxiously away in fear when our staff attempted to slowly interact with her after her rescue. After some time in the shelter and receiving much needed medical care, Olive was a different dog. She was happy, playful and excited to greet the animal care takers every day. She was ready for her new life.
“I truly can’t thank you and your team enough for helping rescue her. Its hard to believe what a happy dog she is given her terrible past. Olive is really the most loving and snuggly dog I have ever met. She now has a big sister, an 11 year old yellow lab, and her favorite place to be is on someone’s lap and gives kisses on the nose. Olive has become not only a true member of our family, but also my best friend. Olive makes my life so much brighter and really has my entire heart. I don’t know if I have ever loved anything more than I love her.”- Emma, Olives forever Mom.