Dozens of dogs were rescued from being processed into dog meat after they were discovered in sacks on the back of a truck – just as they arrived at an Indonesian slaughterhouse.
A shocking video shows the moment when police officers and animal rights activists intercept the vehicle of the meat merchant in Sukoharjo on the Indonesian island of Java and find 53 dogs whimpering and trembling with fear.
The frightened dogs, mostly stolen pets, some of which were still wearing collars, were found tied up in sacks and their muzzles tied with cords and zip ties after a strenuous 10-hour journey.
The truck was stopped by police in the early hours of Wednesday morning as it was arriving at an illegal dog meat slaughterhouse where 30 dogs were beaten to death every day and the driver was arrested on suspicion of being a dog meat dealer.
Activists from the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition found that the dogs were tied up in sackcloth and that most of the canines were emaciated and less than a year old. One dog died during the 10 hour drive.
The frightened dogs, mostly stolen pets, some of which were still wearing collars, were handcuffed in sacks and snouts tied with string and zip ties after a grueling 10-hour journey
A Dog Meat Free Indonesia activist investigates a dog after it was rescued during police surveillance of an illegal dog meat transport
A dog is handcuffed in a sack when the police in Sukohario intercept an illegal dog meat truck
Lola Webber, who was one of the first activists on the scene, said she could hear the dogs whimpering inside the truck as she approached.
“My heart pounded in my chest as we approached the truck because I heard the dogs’ pathetic whimpering and then saw them all tied up in sacks, their soft snouts compressed with wire,” said Webber of the Humane Society International campaign group said.
“They were extremely traumatized and scared.”
She added, “We got there just in time because the killing usually takes place in the early hours of the morning. We are very grateful to the authorities for taking action. ‘
Police in Sukoharjo had infiltrated a dog trafficking operation in Java as part of the country’s first large-scale police raid in an illegal dog meat slaughterhouse in order to target the suspected, unidentified dog meat trader.
Dogs are tied in sacks in a dog meat trolley before being rescued in Sukohario, Central Java
An activist comforts a dog tied in a sack on the back of a butcher’s truck
Activist Lola Webber helps rescue dogs from an illegal dog slaughterhouse transport in Sukohario
The meat trader’s vehicle was intercepted in Sukoharjo on the Indonesian island of Java
The trader is said to have been at the center of the dog meat trade on the island of Java for more than 20 years.
He is suspected of transporting hundreds of dogs to slaughter each month and killing an average of 30 dogs a day.
Speaking of the rescue, Webber said, “Many of the dogs were still wearing collars and were no doubt miles from home, likely stolen pets being taken from the street.”
“They will have been on the most appalling and terrifying journey they would have thrown on the back of a truck to be taken to that disgusting and filthy slaughterhouse, where they would have been hit over the head and their throats cut.
“To think about the fear they have to endure is just devastating.”
The 53 dogs rescued from the slaughterhouse received emergency veterinary treatment from the activists before being returned to an emergency shelter where they will be cared for
Lola Webber, one of the first activists on the scene, said she could hear the dogs whimpering in the car as she approached
Dogs rescued from an illegal dog meat truck during a police check in Sukohario, Central Java are awaiting removal to a shelter by the Dog Meat Free Indonesia and Humane Society International coalition
The 53 dogs rescued from the slaughterhouse received emergency veterinary treatment from the activists before being returned to an emergency shelter where they will be cared for.
The dogs are unlikely to be reunited with their families, but activists are making appeals on the ground. If they cannot find their owners, they are adopted in Indonesia, and some are flown to a shelter in Canada where they can be adopted.
There is no nationwide trade ban on dog meat in Indonesia. While the government has promised to crack down on the trade, it has been the regional governments that have taken action so far.
Tarjono Sapto Nugroho, chief of the Sukoharjo Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Department, said, “We have received many complaints about the operations of illegal dog meat traders. People don’t want this trade or this slaughter in their communities.
“Dogs are friends, not food, and the trade is already illegal and strictly forbidden under Islamic law. The consumption of dog meat is seen by some as a culture, but cultures develop and we have to. “