At the request of Humane Society International (HSI), two of the 23 dogs rescued from a meat farm in South Korea were transported to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center and transferred over to the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center at St. Hubert's on February 23. HSI officials contacted St. Hubert’s and the ASPCA after it became apparent that the two dogs—a white Jindo named Robin, and Kaya, a Husky mix—required specialized behavioral rehabilitation.
St. Hubert's Director of Shelter Operations Becky Burton arrives from Virginia to St. Hubert's with Kaya and Robin.
The dogs will undergo behavioral treatment at the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center at St. Hubert’s, the first-ever facility dedicated strictly to providing behavior rehabilitation to homeless dogs. At the center, ASPCA animal behavior experts and support staff work daily with dogs until they are ready for adoption. Scientific techniques are used to reduce the dogs’ fear of people, as well as to gradually acclimate them to unfamiliar objects, sounds, living areas, and real-life situations that can induce trauma and severe stress.
HSI launched its program nearly a year ago to end the dog meat trade by helping dog meat farmers transition to more humane ways of making a living. This is the first time a farmer has cooperated with the organization, agreeing to relinquish the dogs and transition to blueberry farming. It is estimated that thousands of dog farms supply animals for the dog meat trade in South Korea, where nearly two million dogs are killed for human consumption annually.
“We are honored to welcome Robin and Kaya to St. Hubert’s, and join a multi-agency effort to increase awareness of the cruel dog meat trade,” said Heather Cammisa, President and CEO for St. Hubert’s. “By helping Kaya and Robin, we can help to bring unprecedented attention to this horrific practice. These dogs are ambassadors for change.”
While most of the rescued dogs have been more social than expected, Kaya and Robin have exhibited fearful behavior and are too anxious to interact with people. “They will now receive top-notch care and rehabilitation at the ASPCA’s center. Our goal is to ultimately place them for adoption at St. Hubert’s and we are encouraged that the work of the center will offer new tools and techniques to rescuers in other parts of the world when these farms hopefully continue to move away from dog farming,” said Cammisa.
“The ASPCA is pleased to be in a position to help these two dogs overcome their past and begin a new life,” said Kristen Collins, senior director of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Behavior Rehabilitation. “We’ve gained a tremendous amount of insight into behavioral rehabilitation over the past two years since the launch of our program, and we hope to help countless more dogs like Kaya and Robin recover and find permanent homes.”
Adam Parascandola, director of animal protection and crisis response for HSI said, “We are grateful to the ASPCA and St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center for agreeing to work with Kaya and Robin. Dogs on dog meat farms live their entire lives isolated in cages and, as a result, are frightened by many facets of everyday life. The expertise provided by the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center will help them build the tools to succeed as beloved companions in someone’s family.”
To learn more about Kaya and Robin's care and rehabilitation at the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center at St. Hubert's, watch a National Geographic video that details their progress.