After reporting earlier this week on the rescue of over 1,000 dogs bound for the dinner plate at Yulin’s infamous Dog Meat Festival, we decided to go visit the saved pups today (June 23) and see how they are doing post-liberation.
When we arrived at the super-secret location in Guangzhou where the dogs are being treated, we were greeted by Jeffery Beri (pictured below), an American activist working to end cruelty against animals. Beri was kind enough to lend us a few minutes of his time to share his insights on the rescue, which happened in Guangzhou’s Baiyun District, and tell us what is being done to nurse the dogs back to health.
Tell us a little bit about how you ended up here and the work you do.
This is not my rescue, we are an emergency response unit, we’re called No Dog Left Behind. We are based out of New York and LA and we cater to a global audience, any rescue that deals with looking after the welfare of animals or helping animals whose welfare is at risk. We bring resources, we bring funding and management.
This is a situation where we were contacted because 1,300 dogs had been rescued from a truck [bound for Yulin]. They called us up, as dogs started dying very quickly.
Describe briefly how this week’s bust happened.
What’s happening is the people here have access to an information highway that has grown from a little wire to a fire engine hose of data, so to speak, so information can be shared very quickly. So when word got out that there was a truck of dogs on the road, this gentleman [gestures at a man] went out and and cut the truck off. They called in resources, it takes 15-20 people, the police came out and checked the paperwork.
And, as is [normally] the problem, the majority of these dogs are stolen dogs. The majority of these dogs are very sick, which means that they are not legal and they are not being legally transported. With that [confirmed], they were able to confiscate the dogs.
So what has been going on here at the dog rescue shelter?
We have been up for three days and we have vaccinated, treated and vetted dogs. We have actually been using human medications on dogs. We treat them just like we treat our kids and it has been really successful for us.
We have organized the dogs into areas for infectious diseases – which 40 percent have – and ‘immediate attention’ for animals that need treatment for cuts, scrapes and bruises. And, most importantly, the ones that are healthy have been tested and vaccinated. Some of the animals, their immune systems are so weak from being in cages for such a long time. So there is the chance of more losses.
But once again, we have worked together, [given] them more space and we’ve built a tented area to cover the dogs – which we finished just before a thunder shower. When the rain started coming down, people started applauding and clapping.
What was the shelter site like before you guys set up shop here?
This area was a garbage dump when we showed up, and what we did was assess the area, clean it up, set up tents and create channels to organize the dogs.
Did you guys bring your own medicine with you from America?
We brought boxes and boxes of medication in, but we purchased a tremendous amount of resources and vaccines here.
Is No Dog Left Behind run strictly on donations?
We embrace donations, we do outreaches for donations, but that’s also not stopping us from reaching into our bank accounts and emptying everything out to save a dog. That’s just who we are as No Dog Left Behind, and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve given up our lives – and I say this with all sincerity – we have given up our lives for the dogs because it’s a movement and we want to continue it.
What can people do to help?
We want volunteers to come here [to Guangzhou] and we want volunteers that are willing to go to Hunan. We also want flight volunteers that are willing to get dogs out, people to sponsor dogs going out, donations, we want it all. We want people to [do] whatever they can.
We want people to come visit us, be available – even if it’s just offering resources. If you’re a doctor and want to review blood work, for example. Never think you can’t help.
On top of that, we want people to be socially conscious about the planet. When you are buying a product, don’t buy stuff that is tested on animals. I mean, there are so many ways you can help and fight the war against cruelty. It takes a village – no, it takes the world.
Watch footage from inside the dog rescue shelter below (VPN off):
Outside of China? Watch it on YouTube.
If you would like to volunteer, message Ekki on WeChat (ID: ekki001).
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Photos and video by Matthew Bossons, video editing by Sky Gidge.