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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

From South Korea to Spokane, no shortage of love now for these dogs

Luke the Maltese will have a new home today.

Sue Hill, who volunteers once a week at SpokAnimal, is adopting the dog, one of eight taken in by the organization last week after their rescue from an illegal meat farm in South Korea.

“What a life that poor little thing has had,” she said. “He’ll have a good, happy home. He’ll be safe and be taken care of.”

The Humane Society of the United States rescued more than 500 dogs from illegal meat farms in South Korea and reached out to SpokAnimal, asking if it could accept eight.

The dogs were flown from South Korea to Canada, where they were tested for heart worms, before arriving Saturday in Spokane.

SpokAnimal Executive Director Dori Peck said three dogs are ready for adoption. But three Korean Jindos remain skittish and need to be examined by a behavioral health expert before they are cleared for adoption.

“They are pretty scared and are going to need some TLC for awhile,” she said.

The dogs, which have been sterilized and implanted with microchips, are available for an adoption fee ranging from $200 to $275, depending on the age of the dog.

Peck said SpokAnimal received more than 90 voicemail messages Monday morning from people interested in adopting the dogs.

“The response from people has been wonderful,” she said.

Peck said the Korean dog meat trade is often thought of as an old wives’ tale, but the recent rescue of the dogs could help raise awareness of the issue.

Humane Society International estimates more than 2 million dogs are killed for food each year in South Korea, but nonprofit International Aid for Korean Animals says dog meat consumption is not a “tradition deeply embedded into the nation’s culture.”

A South Korean court ruled earlier this year that killing of dogs for meat is illegal. The animal rights activist group Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth, or CARE, had sued a dog farm owner in Bucheon, South Korea, according to National Geographic.

After Hill heard news that eight dogs rescued from South Korea were available locally, she got in line at SpokAnimal’s entrance Monday to adopt one.

Hill saw Luke and thought he would make a perfect companion for her 8-year-old Chihuahua-dachsund mix, Penny.

Once Hill picks up Luke from SpokAnimal today, she plans to get him groomed and introduced to his new home.

“My kids all have dogs, cats and horses. We are just animal people,” Hill said. “I’m looking forward for him to have a happy little life that he deserves.”