You can find out more about the Korean dogs by visiting the Facebook page of the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County. Click HERE. There's more information at the Facebook page of the Humane Society International. Click HERE.
Some refugees arrived in Indian River County last week, hoping to find new homes, but first they’re getting used to being in the United States. Some of them were introduced to the public on Facebook live. Kim Alboum is Director of the Emergency Placement Partner Program with the Humane Society of the United States. She walks among the dogs which are house in individual crates, each covered with a sheet. Alboum gives special attention to a fluffy, tan dog named Shane. The organization partnered with Humane Society International to bring 200 dogs from a dog meat farm in South Korea to the United States and some of them are at the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County. Korea is the last country, according to Alboum, where dogs can be legally farmed for meat for human consumption. “The Humane Society International, is working with the Koreans, a majority of them don’t want this trade to exist anymore, to end this practice.” She says. Album says the term “meat dog” may bring to mind a nasty, mean animal, more livestock than pet. She says nothing could be further from the truth. “We have an extensive network of partners across the country,” she says. “There are 295 shelter and rescue partners that take in victims of cruelty and neglect from cases and from situation such as this. They know these dogs are going to need some extensive care.” That doesn’t include Shane, the dog she introduced on Facebook live earlier. She says, “I think Shane is pretty much ready for somebody’s couch and some toys tomorrow.” Some of the dogs are frightened, they’ve lived in cages with limited human contact, not going outside. Most of the dogs, like Shane, seem to be adjusting, learning to walk on a leash and go outside to answer the call of nature. Andy Bass is a volunteer with an animal rescue organization called Red Rover. He’s been helping to take care of the former “meat dogs.” Sometimes it’s just a matter of sitting next to them to lower their stress level. Other ones are a little more active already so they enjoy going out for the little extra walks,” he says. “Just anything they need at this phase to make them a little more comfortable before moving on to the next step.” While he cares for all the dogs, a fluffy Pomeranian seems to have stolen Bass’s heart. “We have our little Adam, our little white guy. He’s very timid and scared. He’s not so much interested in being out in the yard as he is in your arms,” Bass says. “As soon as he was in my arms, he was flipped over wanting his little belly rubbed.” 20 of the dogs will be staying in Indian River County. Janet Winikoff is Director of Education at the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County she says potential owners will be told of any special needs. “Everybody is speaking with an adoption counselor. There’s a conversation about the medical and behavioral needs of that animal,” says Winikoff. “These dogs that are here from Korea, they are getting the same attention, the same care as our dogs who are here in Indian River County.” Winikoff says they can use donations of toys, blankets, newspapers and towels as well as monetary donations. They’ll be used to help all animals at the shelter. Volunteers are also always welcome.