Fives dogs rescued from meat trade in Cambodia arrive Cape Town searching for furever homes

The dogs arrived in Cape Town on Wednesday. Photo: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

The dogs arrived in Cape Town on Wednesday. Photo: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 17, 2024


Animal organisations from different countries have come together in a cross-border adoption campaign hoping to change the lives of five dogs.

The heartwarming tale of these five dogs - Gamora, Shadow, Falcon, Drax, and Maximoff - sees them emerging from a Cambodian slaughterhouse in search of a new life in South Africa.

The dogs arrived in Cape Town on Wednesday.

This campaign with global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS in collaboration with TEARS Animal Rescue aim to help these four-legged friends to find loving homes through the TEARS adoption team.

The dogs have received a clean bill of health but will be kept in quarantine between seven and 14 days as part of the standard travel regulations for dogs traveling between countries, before being transported to TEARS.

In February of 2021, a minivan carrying 61 live dogs was intercepted en route to a Cambodian slaughterhouse by the local authorities after a law was passed in July 2020, in the city of Siem Reap banning the dog meat trade.

The ban followed FOUR PAWS working closely together with the Cambodian government since 2018 advocating for a ban on the dog meat trade due to the extreme animal cruelty involved and public health risks, largely due to rabies and the spread of other zoonotic diseases.

After rescuing the animals and arresting the trafficker, the Cambodian government reached out to FOUR PAWS to assist in taking care of the animals.

“This was an an exceptional case due to the situation on site. Adoptions of stray animals do not have a long tradition in Southeast Asia and are only slowly establishing themselves. In the case of the 61 dogs seized in Cambodia, only 31 have found a new home locally.

“To ensure that the animals quickly find a loving home after their traumatic experiences, FOUR PAWS through its offices globally decided to place these animals in those countries as an exception. Some of them went to Switzerland and the United States,” the organisation said.

FOUR PAWS director in South Africa, Fiona Miles said stray dogs and cats as well as family pet animals live in constant risk of being picked up by meat traders and killed in Southeast Asia.

“The dog and cat meat trade is not prevalent in South Africa on the scale that is seen elsewhere but several reports indicate that this cruelty is practiced in some regions on the continent. It is very active in Southeast Asia in countries like Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

“These five dogs are ambassadors for dogs who remain in those circumstances, and for other dogs in South Africa and globally that are subjected to cruelty. FOUR PAWS remains committed to implementing humane and sustainable dog and cat population management programs in South Africa where we support communities and partners to participate in our stray animal management solutions,” Miles said.

The five dogs need to find forever families.

FOUR PAWS works towards the protection of animals under direct human influence, and this includes many species from companion, farm, and wild animals.

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