A canine slaughterhouse owner and operator in Indonesia is finally facing hefty fines and jail time. Last year, more than 50 terrified dogs were rescued from the horrifying conditions in his facility after they were smuggled from almost 400 miles away.
Despite the government’s declaration that “dogs are not food” back in 2018, dog meat is still smuggled and in demand across Indonesia.
When police raided the property in Sukoharjo, 50 frightened dogs were rescued just in time. The poor pups were stolen straight from people’s homes or while they were living on the streets in West Java. Once acquired, smugglers tied them up, stuffed them in sacks, and then subjected them to a grueling 365-mile journey. Most of them even had their muzzles bound shut the entire time.
“Seeing the terrified and traumatized faces of those dogs huddled together in the back of the truck is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. They were skin and bone, dehydrated, weak and bewildered,” said Lola Webber, Humane Society International’s director of campaigns to End Dog Meat.
The smugglers were aiming to make their money by meeting the demand for dog meat in Central Java. At one restaurant in particular, an estimated 13,700 dogs are killed for human consumption every month. While the government went on record declaring that “dogs are not food,” a nationwide dog meat ban has yet to be made official. There are still around 1 million dogs that fall victim to the dog meat trade in Indonesia every year.
“It’s very satisfying knowing that the man who caused them so much suffering is going to prison, but many more dogs will continue to suffer until a definitive law is in place,” says Lola.
Not only did The Dog Meat Free Indonesia (DMFI) coalition go with police to assist with the rescue, but they were the incredible organization who continued to nurse all 50 of the sick and suffering pups back to health. It was in their care that veterinarians discovered that these defenseless dogs were made to endure almost endless abuse, and almost all of them tested positive for distemper. Distemper is an incurable, often fatal virus that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems.
Suseno, the slaughterhouse owner, was found guilty of breaking laws regarding animal health and husbandry, and sentenced to 12 months behind bars. He was also fined 150 million rupiah or $10,000 in US dollars.
“Criminals like Suseno need to be brought to justice to protect animal welfare and public health from this crime-fueled, disease-spreading and cruel trade,” said Karin Franken of Jakarta Animal Aid Network.
Now, many of these incredible dogs have made their way to Canada, and are waiting to find their forever families.
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