Thanks to a tip-off from concerned citizens, the quick response of our Chinese partners at animal group Vshine and decisive action by law enforcement officials, two illegal dog slaughterhouses in a northern province of China are getting permanently closed down and more than fifty dogs rescued from certain death. One facility—where Vshine members and police officers discovered shocking scenes of bloodstained floors, buckets of entrails and all manner of slaughter paraphernalia—was razed to the ground by bulldozers so that no animals would suffer within its walls ever again.

Both slaughterhouse closures, conducted in partnership with the authorities, were part of Humane Society International and Vshine’s joint anti-dog meat campaign, assisting local law enforcement agencies in their efforts to curb and eliminate this cruel and unwelcome trade that sees millions of dogs across China brutally killed for meat. The coordinated actions demonstrate the determination of many provincial authorities in China to bring dog meat traders, dog thieves and slaughterers to justice.

Most people across China don’t eat dogs, and increasingly we are seeing citizen outrage there leading to animals being rescued, as was the case with one of these slaughter closures.

Some of the rescued dogs have the signs of having once been someone’s pet.

The terror that these dogs must have endured is almost unimaginable. It is utterly heartbreaking to know that hundreds, if not thousands, of dogs would have been cruelly treated and killed at these facilities, many of them likely former pets stolen from backyards or their local neighborhood streets. They could have been snatched hundreds of miles away, packed into the back of a truck to endure a grueling journey before reaching these terrible facilities.

At dog slaughterhouses, dogs are routinely locked up in filthy cages to be pulled out one by one and bludgeoned in front of each other. The video report on the rescues is a chilling reminder of the cruelty these dogs suffer, canine body parts strewn across the floor and even dog skins and pelts likely for sale in the local fur trade. This is an unusual low for China’s dog meat trade. Yet in north and northeast China, it’s not unheard of for the dead dogs to be skinned and their fur to be sold as footwear and gloves at local markets.

The dogs are recovering at Vshine's shelter in northern China, which is supported by Humane Society International.

The over 50 lucky dogs who were rescued from these two slaughterhouses are now recovering at Vshine’s facility supported by Humane Society International and in other rescue group shelters. A number of them are German shepherds who could quite possibly have been guard dogs stolen from farms or factories, while others are golden Labradors, spaniel mixes and smaller dogs who have all the signs of having once been someone’s pet. The care and compassion they are now receiving will help to heal their physical and psychological wounds, and Vshine’s hugely successful adoption program will seek out new adoring families in China.

Vshine and many other Chinese animal groups are dedicated to ending the dog meat trade in China and helping animals escape the brutality. The campaign within China has already led to some milestone accomplishments such as the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai becoming the first in mainland China to outlaw dog and cat meat sales and consumption. China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs also officially announced that dogs are companion animals and not “livestock” for eating. But when it comes to saving lives, every single dog or cat rescued feels like a victory for China’s animal lovers who rush to the scene to help.

We are so grateful to Vshine and to the local law enforcement who saved these dogs from a terrible fate and closed down these slaughterhouses once and for all. For as long as we have such allies, there is hope.

Follow Kitty Block on Twitter @HSUSKittyBlock.