Two shelter staff members with rescued dog

Unleashing Compassion: Caring for Dogs Rescued from the Dog Meat Trade

When 61 dogs were put into our care practically overnight, two of our amazing staff members came to their rescue


Taking care of a dog is full of fun and enjoyable moments, but it also of course, comes with a lot of work and responsibility. So just imagine what it would be like to suddenly be responsible for the care of 61 precious pups! This is what happened to our Cambodian staff in Siem Reap back in 2021, when 61 dogs were suddenly put into our care

They were rescued from a dog meat trade truck that was on its way directly to a slaughterhouse. The dog traders were apprehended by the Siem Reap authorities who were upholding the newly instated law and FOUR PAWS supported the interception as they attempted to smuggle dogs out of Siem Reap to a different province. 

Whilst the dogs were shaken up and some sadly injured, luckily, they started making vast improvements day by day after their rescue. This was all down to the hard work and compassion shown by our Cambodian caretakers Thourn Chout and Cheat Viboul.  

Every day the two of them would take care of all the dog's needs, including but not limited to: cleaning their shelters, taking them for walks and providing medical assistance where necessary. Each dog would require a bath twice a month, and some were still so traumatised by their prior experiences that they would attempt to bite Thourn and Cheat. However, the pair never lost their patience or their hope, and continued to love and care for these dogs.  

Shelter staff member with rescued dog

When asked about his time at FOUR PAWS Chout, reminisced about one dog they named Maverick, who surprised him with her transformation after moving into the shelter. She was a nervous and scared dog when she first arrived, but with time, love, and care, she blossomed.  

He admitted that prior to joining FOUR PAWS, he had not felt such a deep connection to his own pets and did not believe that he had a particular affinity for animals. In fact, both staff members shared a similar story regarding how prior to this experience, neither had considered quite how severe the horrors and risks regarding dog meat trade are. Since working at the shelter, they have been amazed at how much of a difference the work made in improving the lives of these furry creatures and providing them with the chance to find a new home.  

After seeing with their own eyes what this unbelievable cruelty does to the poor animals, they are now strong advocates for a ban on this trade. Due to their amazing efforts to socialise and leash train all the rescues, miraculously every single dog could successfully be adopted

Every year, an estimated ten million dogs and cats are captured, transported and slaughtered for their meat in Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia. Many of these animals are stolen pets or stray animals taken from the streets to supply the demands of the trade. The sheer scale of the trade and the suffering involved makes it one of the most severe animal welfare issues in Southeast Asia. In addition, there are severe health implications – with links between the dog and cat meat trade and rabies, as well as conditions ripe for disease emergence. 

FOUR PAWS’ goal is for Governments in Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia to introduce, strengthen and enforce animal protection laws, which will bring an end to the capture, slaughter and consumption of dogs and cats. We’ve been able to make some progress such as closing one of the last remaining dog meat restaurants in Hoi An, Vietnam, and we hope that this abhorrent trade will someday be completely eradicated. 


dog in cage

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