Chinese animal rights activists and police stopped a truck packed with 260 puppies and 22 adult dogs in the Chinese province of Anhui, animal welfare organization Humane Society International (HSI) said in a statement.
The adult dogs were intended for the meat trade, and the puppies to be sold as pets. The truck driver had taken the dogs on a 1,000-mile (1700 kilometers) journey from Guizhou to Huainan when it was spotted on the highway by local activists.
They reported the suspected illegal transport of live animals to the police, who intercepted the truck and forced the driver to pull over to the side of the road.
When the truck driver couldn’t provide the required documents to legally transport live animals across provincial borders, the dogs were confiscated, HSI said.
Twelve puppies were found dead in the truck, and eighteen died after being rescued. Many of the surviving puppies were suffering from dehydration, starvation and skin disease. One puppy had a painful skin condition leading to hair loss.
“My heart sank when I spotted the truck on the highway that night. I knew it was going to be bad because there were so many dogs crammed inside,” Teng, an animals rights campaigner for HSI and its Chinese partner group Vshine, said in a statement.
“They were all crying for our attention, covered in their own urine and faeces, and in really bad shape. It was disgusting what they endured, like a truck from hell for those poor dogs,” he added. “We are grateful to the Huainan police who acted so swiftly to help save these dogs.”
The dogs are now safe, receiving veterinary care, food, water and rest at nearby shelters, HSI said.
“This sad story is all too common in China, where hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats every month endure appalling suffering like this in order to make profit for the meat and pet trades,” Peter Li, HSI’s China policy specialist, said.
“Chinese animal activists regularly alert police when trucks are identified, and in this case, the Huainan police were exemplary in how they responded,” he said, adding that he hoped that more law enforcement agencies in China would act like the Huainan police.
“The condition of these dogs was so terrible that it’s likely many more would have died before they reached their intended destination, and sick puppies would probably have been sold for meat just like the adult dogs,” Li said.
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