The last meat truck dog: what Shenzhen grassroots are doing to contain the stray dog population
She looks something like a German shepherd – tall and pointy ears, a long, pointy snout, and a coat that’s a mix of sandy browns and blacks – except that she’s scaled-down to a size small enough to live comfortably in an apartment. And she does, with her current foster family in Shenzhen.
Despite an aesthetic that would be appreciated in the West, where hybrid breeds and athletic-build dogs are not considered lesser or out of the ordinary, Beauty has had a hard time finding a forever home.
It has been 11 months since she was rescued from the illegal dog meat trade with 1,000 others who were on the truck, 121 of whom were relocated to Shenzhen, and nine of whom died from viruses and disease that had spread among the would-be “delicacies” on the meat truck.* All the others have been rehomed.
There are scores of individuals – both Chinese and foreign residents – working to alleviate the dangerous situation for homeless dogs and cats in Shenzhen. Here are some efforts private citizens and animal activists are taking to curb the stray population, reducing the number of animals vulnerable to cruelty and abduction:
1. Neutering pets and TNR.
Dog and cat overpopulation leads to more strays, making animals vulnerable to abuse and premature or violent deaths. To reduce the number of at-risk animals, it is widely advised by vets and animal rescuers that all pets be desexed.
There are also organizations and individuals in Shenzhen who are working to lower the stray population through TNR, meaning “trap, neuter, release,” which involves humanely trapping and desexing strays before releasing them back to their original habitat.
2. Providing a “forever home” to pets
The greatest milestone in a dog or cat’s life is being adopted, but adoption is not the end of the road for the animal’s safety and physical well-being.
Typical of a migrant city like Shenzhen, many residents move away, sometimes without being prepared to take their pets. These situations burden the animal rescue community, not only detracting from serious cases involving abused or homeless animals who urgently need homes, but because the left-behind pet’s fate, without the supervision of a loving and committed owner, is at-risk of danger.
3. Adopting non-purebred animals.
While the picture-perfect narrative of raising a purebred puppy from infancy is enticing in all its cuteness, there are many advantages to adopting adult dogs and non-purebreds that are unknown to many in Asia where the pet dog market is just taking off in recent years.
For one, adult dogs usually already “know the drill” in terms of living with humans — they are often already house-trained.
Recently our city has seen incredible and inspiring efforts undertaken by charitable individuals, volunteers, and selfless vets and no-kill shelters. The next most-effective step that can be taken is for Beauty – and others like her – to find their forever homes. If interested in meeting Beauty, please get in touch with Natasha, Beauty's point-of-contact, via WeChat: tishtashtosh
*Please note that figures regarding the number of dogs rescued, relocated to Shenzhen, and survived the ordeal have been edited.
Xiamen, Fujian China
Great Job !
Bless u guys...