Oct. 13, by Nathaly Pesantez
A group of dogs rescued from the Korean dog meat trade will be up for adoption in an event on Saturday at Sunnyside’s Wespaw Pets.
The event will take place from 12:00 p.m to 5:00 p.m. on Oct. 14, where six to seven dogs will be at Wespaw Pets, located at 44-05 Queens Boulevard, for people to interact with and consider for adoption.
A mother with her litter of puppies will be at the adoption event, along with two adult Jindos, a hunting dog breed native to South Korea, according to Gina Boehler, director of Korean K9 Rescue, a volunteer group that opposes South Korea’s dog meat trade.
Boehler learned about the dog meat trade, a practice tracing back to antiquity in her native homeland of South Korea, about a year ago, and decided to partner with activists groups in the country to aid in efforts to stop the practice.
The dogs are rescued by activists in South Korea who negotiate with dog meat farmers on site or purchase the dogs before they are killed for their meat. Another tactic used to rescue dogs includes protesting outside known dog farm locations. Boehler explained that the declining popularity of the practice has made it easier for farmers to give up the dogs.
Once the dogs are rescued, they are vaccinated, neutered, and kept quarantined for a while in South Korea before a volunteer flies with them to John F. Kennedy International Airport. From there, the pups are fostered by volunteers around New York City until they are ready for adoption.
This is the third adoption event for rescued dogs of the Korean dog meat trade to take place at Wespaw Pets and organized by Boehler. Past events have seen close to 150 people come in and out of the location to play with and walk the dogs, and with multiple people expressing interest in adopting the same dog.
“The adoption event went way past the time it was supposed to, so that’s always good,” said Janet Carhuayno, manager at Wespaw Pets.
But the vetting process for those interested in adopting is selective, with volunteers from the Korean K9 Rescue group conducting reference checks, a check on the home, and requiring a complete application. “We want the dogs to go to a good home,” Boehler said. A portion of the adoption fees go toward the rescue groups in South Korea.
Boehler’s group has managed to adopt out 130 dogs since efforts began last year, and wants to continue putting pressure on the South Korean government to end the practice in a country that consumes up to 2.5 million dogs a year.
“Our goal is to change the stereotype and perception of what a dog is around the world,” Boehler said. “We want to say that a dog is a dog—it doesn’t matter if they’re born on a dog meat farm or a puppy mill, we all consider them our best friends.”