Shocking moment 53 dogs found tied up in bags at the back of Indonesian meat trade

Dozens of dogs have been rescued from turning into dog meat after they were discovered tied up in bags in the back of a truck – just as they arrived at an Indonesian slaughterhouse.

Shocking video shows the moment when police and animal activists intercepted the meat dealer’s vehicle in Sukoharjo, on the Indonesian island of Java, and found 53 dogs howling and trembling in fear.

The terrified dogs, mostly stolen pets with some still collared, were found tied in sacks and their muzzles tied tightly with rope and zip ties after a grueling 10-hour journey.

The truck was stopped by police in the early hours of Wednesday morning just as it arrived at an illegal dog meat slaughterhouse where 30 dogs are clubbed to death every day and the driver arrested on suspicion of being a dog meat trafficker.

Campaigners from the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition found the dogs tied up in burlap sacks and most of the canines were emaciated and less than a year old. One dog died during the 10-hour journey.

The terrified dogs, mostly stolen pets with some still collared, were found tied in sacks and their muzzles tied tightly with rope and zip ties after a grueling 10-hour journey.

A Dog Meat Free Indonesia campaigner investigates a dog after she was rescued during a police interception of an illegal dog meat shipment

A Dog Meat Free Indonesia campaigner investigates a dog after she was rescued during a police interception of an illegal dog meat shipment

A dog is tied up in a bag with its mouth tied up as police intercept an illegal dog meat transport truck in Sukohario

A dog is tied up in a bag with its mouth tied up as police intercept an illegal dog meat transport truck in Sukohario

Lola Webber, one of the first protesters on the scene, said she could hear the dogs whimpering in the truck as she approached.

“My heart pounded in my chest as we approached the truck because I could hear the pitiful wails of the dogs and then I saw them all tied up in sacks, their soft muzzles clenched with thread,” Webber, of the Humane Society International campaign group, thus.

“They were extremely traumatized and scared.”

She added: “We got there just in the nick of time because the murders usually take place in the early hours. We are extremely grateful to the authorities for taking measures.’

Police in Sukoharjo had infiltrated a dog-trafficking operation in Java to tackle the suspected dog meat trader, who has not been identified, as part of the country’s first large-scale police raid on an illegal dog meat slaughterhouse.

Dogs are strapped into sacks in a dog meat transport truck before being rescued in Sukohario, Central Java

Dogs are strapped into sacks in a dog meat transport truck before being rescued in Sukohario, Central Java

A campaigner comforts a dog tied up in a bag in the back of a meat dealer's truck

A campaigner comforts a dog tied up in a bag in the back of a meat dealer’s truck

Campaigner Lola Webber helps rescue dogs from illegal dog slaughterhouse transport in Sukohario

Campaigner Lola Webber helps rescue dogs from illegal dog slaughterhouse transport in Sukohario

The meat dealer's vehicle was intercepted in Sukoharjo, on the Indonesian island of Java

The meat dealer’s vehicle was intercepted in Sukoharjo, on the Indonesian island of Java

The trader is said to have been at the center of the dog meat trade on the island of Java for over 20 years.

He is suspected of coordinating hundreds of dogs for slaughter every month and killing an average of 30 dogs a day.

Speaking about the rescue, Webber said: ‘Many of the dogs were still collared and were no doubt many miles from home, probably stolen pets plucked from the street.

“They must have endured the most gruesome and terrifying journey, thrown in the back of a truck to be taken to this disgusting and filthy slaughterhouse where they would be beaten to death on the head and their throats slit.

“The thought of the fear they must have endured is just devastating.”

The 53 dogs rescued from the slaughterhouse received emergency veterinary treatment from the protesters before traveling back to a temporary shelter where they will be cared for

The 53 dogs rescued from the slaughterhouse received emergency veterinary treatment from the protesters before traveling back to a temporary shelter where they will be cared for

Lola Webber, one of the first protesters on the scene, said she could hear the dogs whimpering inside the truck as she approached.

Lola Webber, one of the first protesters on the scene, said she could hear the dogs whimpering inside the truck as she approached.

Dogs rescued from an illegal dog meat transport truck during a police interception in Sukohario, Central Java, await transfer to a shelter by Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition and Humane Society International

Dogs rescued from an illegal dog meat transport truck during a police interception in Sukohario, Central Java, await transfer to a shelter by Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition and Humane Society International

The 53 dogs rescued from the slaughterhouse were given emergency veterinary treatment from the protesters before being returned to a temporary shelter where they will be cared for.

The dogs are unlikely to be reunited with their families, but activists are making local calls. If they can’t find their owners, they are adopted in Indonesia, and some are flown to a shelter in Canada where they can be adopted.

There is no nationwide ban on the dog meat trade in Indonesia. While the government has pledged to crack down on the trade, it has been regional governments who have so far taken action.

Tarjono Sapto Nugroho, chief of crime investigation for the Sukoharjo Police Department, said: “We receive many complaints about illegal trade in dog meat. People don’t want this trade or slaughter in their communities.

“Dogs are friends, not food, and the trade is already illegal and strictly prohibited by Islamic law. Dog meat consumption is considered culture by some, but cultures evolve and so do we.’

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