Dozens of Chinese dogs destined for the dinner plate will be getting a new leash on life this week when they touch down in New York and meet their new forever families.
No Dogs Left Behind, a canine rescue organization that saves pups from China’s dog meat trade, will be transporting 88 hounds from Beijing to New York Friday where their new owners will be waiting for them at the airport.
“This by far is the largest transport that we have done,” Jeff Beri, the founder of the organization, told The Post, adding another 120-135 dogs are expected to come in early 2021.
“These dogs… are my heroes, the adopters are my heroes who’ve waited for their dogs for almost a year now and every dog that walks the streets is an ambassador for the cruelty-free movement that we’re fighting for.”
Tiziana Haug, a 42-year-old mom of two from Park Slope, is thrilled to welcome her miniature poodle named Scooby on Friday.
“It just feels good that we were able to save a life,” said Haug, a creative director.
“Especially for my daughter, this has been something she’s been looking forward to since May when we decided to adopt the dog. It’s been a daily topic for her, ‘when is Scooby coming? Can he come soon?’ The anticipation is big.”
Since 2017, Beri and his team of animal activists and advocates have saved thousands of dogs from cruel, torturous deaths by targeting slaughterhouses, wet markets, traffickers and illegal breeders across China.
When animal activists receive a tip about a planned transport of dogs to slaughterhouses, Beri and his team use the cover of darkness to execute their mission.
“Cutthroat, frontline activists” will follow the trucks, take drone video of its actions and eventually, surround the driver and block their path, Beri described. Activists demand the immediate release of the dogs and if the traffickers can’t show proof of purchase or health and quarantine documents, which they are required to have, the volunteers threaten them with the police.
“The fines exceed the cost of the meat, which is why they turn it over,” Beri said.
Many of the dogs coming to New York, where families across North America will meet them, were rescued during these missions but several are also “COVID rescues,” Beri explained.
“Families had to abandon their dogs and many families sold their dogs to butchers in fear the police would come to detain them,” the activist said.
“There was a lot of mixed messaging coming out saying you could get COVID from your dog.”
Beri said the work is “incredibly dangerous” and could easily land some of his activists in jail but “we can’t just sit idle.”
The born and bred New Yorker wasn’t shy about what happens to the dogs that aren’t rescued.
“Dead, on the plate, skinned alive, boiled alive, blowtorched, beaten to death,” the 56-year-old said bluntly.
“Doesn’t matter whether it’s a poodle, whether or not it’s a German Shepherd, a Golden Retriever, a mutt, doesn’t matter if it’s a Chinese dog, they don’t care.”
One of the reasons why Haug chose No Dogs Left Behind is because of the political activism the group is doing in addition to rescues.
“You are supporting a bigger movement against animal cruelty through your adoption,” Haug explained.
Beri is actively lobbying Chinese government officials to create animal welfare laws and ban the dog meat trade once and for all.
“Anyone can go out and blow torch their dog. Anyone can go out and beat their dog and that’s got to change, no country should allow that to happen,” Beri said.
He pointed to the Chinese wet markets, where the COVID-19 pandemic is thought to have started, as a prime reason for the communist nation to change their laws.
“No Dogs Left Behind believes no country has the right to recklessly slaughter animals and any country that does, it is time for sanctions and boycotting in any way possible because the next pandemic is coming,” Beri implored.
“We’re fighting for vaccines, but nobody’s fighting for change.”