The process may seem barbaric to Americans, but there’s no denying it: Dog meat has been a delicacy in some Asian countries — most notably South Korea and China — for thousands of years.
As the younger generations in the East become more Westernized, the dog meat trade is dying off, but not fast enough for Candy Udell of London Jewelers in East Hampton.
“The need to help dogs in the dog meat trade in China is dire,” said Udell. “An old friend of mine, Jeffrey Beri, took a trip to Thailand and then to China. He saw what was happening to the dogs and cats there. He decided to be the one to instigate change to stop Yulin — the dog meat festival — and the dog meat trade, which is 365 days a year. A mutual friend contacted me to tell me what Jeffrey is doing. And it all started from there,” she said.
Beri is the founder of No Dogs Left Behind, and he’s kind of a rock star in the dog meat rescue world. Before founding NDLB, Beri was a designer and manufacturer of high-end jewelry. But that trip to China changed his life. He quit his job, sold his possessions, and moved to China to devote himself to save dogs from the dog meat trade.
In China, Jeffrey developed the Five Pillars of Rescue, which sets the standard for rescuing and rehabilitating dog meat trade survivors. He founded No Dogs Left Behind shelter in Beijing, the only Chinese shelter that engages in rescue, medical treatment, and rehabilitation of the traumatized canines. Every dog is treated, vetted, rehabilitated, and set up for success to be adopted into loving homes.
Beri works with activists to intercept dog meat trucks, shut down slaughterhouses, and engage in emergency evacuations of dogs. Beri is a firm believer that change in China will come from within. He spends much time at the shelter working with students of all ages, teaching them that dogs are animals to be loved and cherished, not killed and eaten.
“Jeffrey is the only American working there, boots on the ground, training activists to start a movement from within,” Udell said. “I have been working with Jeffrey before and since NDLB’s inception in 2016. It takes time to build an organization from scratch and now that we are three years into it, NDLB is the number-one Googled dog rescue and charity in China.” Udell gave a shout-out to both the Southampton Animal Shelter and to the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons. “Scott Howe from ARF took the initiative to fly dogs back for adoption into loving homes,” she said.
Allison Monaco of Jake’s Rescue Ranch, in Plainview, is another recipient of the pups who are brought from China through NDLB. “Candy Udell reached out to me to take some of their dogs in to foster. Currently we have Bunny who came to us last August,” Monaco said. “She is up for adoption. Bunny is a lovely dog. She was fortunate to escape the horrific meat trade.” Apparently, the dog was beaten and tortured to the point where her back leg had to be amputated. But through Beris’s organization and Udell’s sponsorship, she found her way to Jake’s.
“Bunny came here quiet and to herself. It took her some time to realize she was safe,” Monaco remembered. “She soon came closer and closer. And now she has a beautiful bed in our kitchen that is her spot. She is an amazing dog, runs faster than most of our dogs. Loves to sit in the sun, greet all of our guests, and get belly rubs. She is looking for the perfect home, but until then she will continue to be loved here.”
Here’s a story with a happy ending. Said Monaco, “Amanda had a similar situation. She came to us from NDLB. We really spent a lot of time nurturing her introducing her to a ‘normal life.’”
Amanda was featured on News 12 Long Island and “I knew I wanted her,” said Sag Harbor resident and The Independent’s office manager, Maura Platz. “Someone had paid $1200 for her flight here and then could not take her.” Platz went through the paperwork and soon, Amanda, now Mandy, was living the best life in the Hamptons.
“I was thrilled that Maura adopted her,” said Monaco. “I love seeing the photos of Mandy enjoying the beach. That is my goal,” she said. “To take these dogs from a terrible situation, heal them, and find them their perfect home.”
Of course, all of this costs a pretty penny. “We need flight volunteers to fly dogs back; air miles donated; donations for medical, food, and shelter,” Udell said. “And, most of all, adopters.”
No Dogs Left Behind can be found online at www.nodogs.org. Jake’s Rescue Ranch’s web address is www.jakesrescueranch.org.