New lease of life for pups rescued from China

Gabrielle Gardiner helps transport the rescues with Rebecca Boyce and a volunteer at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
Gabrielle Gardiner helps transport the rescues with Rebecca Boyce and a volunteer at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

Dogs who were rescued from horrific conditions in China have settled in with new families in Northern Ireland, an animal charity has said.

The pups were brought to the UK at the end of January by rescue group Doggy 911, established last year by Belfast woman Gabrielle Gardiner.

Rescue Kasey with her new owner.

Rescue Kasey with her new owner.

Doggy 911 works with China-based organisation Harbin SHS, which aims to save animals from the country's dog meat trade and slaughterhouses.

It is estimated that millions of dogs are killed for their meat in China every year.

Many of the dogs Harbin SHS encounters have suffered horrific abuse, with some affected by serious health conditions such as parvovirus and canine distemper.

Each animal undergoes rigorous health checks prior to their journey to the UK, including a rabies vaccination programme.

The dogs also receive a full series of vaccinations to comply with EU directives, as well as screening for diseases.

Kasey, DouDou, Freddie, and Ripley were rescued in June 2017 from a truck on which up to 1200 dogs were crammed into cages.

After a long journey from China to the UK, the pups met their adoptive families at Carrick's Redwood Doggy Playpark on January 29 before travelling to new homes in Crossgar, Ballynahinch, Lisburn, and Castlewellan.

"It was a very emotional day; both ourselves and the dogs were exhausted from the journey but it was so fantastic to see them united with their new families," said Gabrielle.

"They have all settled in so well and are like completely different dogs after only two and half weeks; they are much more confident in themselves and it's amazing how much they progress with a little bit of love."

Extra care is needed for poodles James (now known as Ollie) and Jake, who suffer from disabilities thought to be the result of inbreeding and medical testing.

Both dogs are rehabilitating well in Belfast, with Carrickfergus-based Vets4Pets currently helping to co-ordinate their care plan.

The charity is working towards transporting two more dogs from China in the next few months with the aim of rehoming them locally.

"Henry is a wee disabled dog who was found in a government shelter; Eli is a Labrador puppy who was rescued on route to the slaughterhouse," said Gabrielle.

It is thought that the shocking new trend of puppies bound for slaughter could be due to their mother having given birth in a slaughterhouse.

The fact that Labradors and Golden Retrievers were 'fashionable' last year, but have now lost popularity with breeders could also be a factor, according to the charity.

Doggy 911 is currently fundraising towards helping rescue more animals in China this summer.

The next event will be 'Pups in the Pub' at Belfast's Sunflower Bar on March 25.

For more details and to keep up to date with the charity's work, visit the Doggy 911 page on Facebook.