Sabine Conrad plays with her French sheepdog El Lobo in front of the snow-covered rooftops of Erfurt, central Germany, on Jan. 17.
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Volunteers in Chongqing work to rescue over 1,100 dogs that were destined for slaughter.
BEIJING – Call it a Chinese New Year miracle. Earlier this week more than 1,100 dogs destined for the slaughterhouse in Chongqing were saved from an ignoble ending by a pet-loving Good Samaritan.
The China Daily reported that 1,137 dogs were rescued on Monday from the back of a flatbed truck by a 40-year old blogger and volunteer at the Chongqing Small Animal Protection Association (CSAPA) surnamed Peng. Peng found the dogs crammed into tight cages that were stacked high atop each other.
The dogs, who had been condemned to slaughter for food, were instead rescued and taken by CSAPA volunteers to an abandoned pig farm where they were given food, water and medical treatment.
In such cramped quarters, the dogs were reported to have been in poor health and some were found already dead inside their cages. By Thursday 16 dogs had died from injury or distemper while another 30 dogs had been sent to a veterinarian hospital in Chongqing for treatment.
The rescued dogs soon became a sensation in this central Chinese metropolis and hundreds of volunteers and donations began flooding in. One man donated nearly 1,000 square feet of warehouse space to house the dogs for free while there is now enough food to feed the dogs for the next 20-30 days.
But the biggest immediate concern right now is finding enough professional volunteers to help take care of the dogs during the busy Chinese New Year holiday when most people empty out of the big cities and head back to their hometowns.
Long term, many people are wondering how they will find homes for so many dogs. The CSAPA predicts about 20 percent of the dogs will eventually be adopted, but the majority of them will likely never be claimed. The association is now considering whether to solicit donations to build dog houses for the remaining animals.
China has seen a rash of similar animal rescues in recent years. In April of last year, animal lovers banded together and raised $17,960 to pay a truck owner who was holding 580 dogs in cages.
China currently has no animal cruelty laws – a notion made problematic by the still large agrarian population – but as of October of last year, regulations issued by the Ministry of Agriculture require dogs and cats to be quarantined before being shipped around China.
More photos from the rescue can be seen here.