We always hope and take for granted that a nonprofit will do what’s right. But that wasn’t the case with the Da Nang Dogs and Cats Information and Rescue Station, located in the city of Da Nang, Vietnam. The owner, Vu Van Chinh, has admitted he killed and sold dogs to dog meat restaurants to serve as meals, stating he did so to raise money for the charity.
But former volunteers have a different story to tell. There have been claims that the charity was actually a front for a trade in dog and cat meat. Mr. Chinh denies this and insists that the meat was sold from un-adoptable dogs in order to cover medical expenses for other animals. Volunteers reported that animals would be sold quickly after being brought to the shelter, as many as ten dogs a day. At this point, Mr. Chinh cannot be found and police are trying to get a hold of him for questioning.
A statement was published by the founder of Vietnam Animal Aid and Rescue, Catherine Besch stating,
“Last week, news came out that one of these leaders of a “rescue” group in Da Nang had been abusing animals and selling them to dog and cat meat restaurants all while lying to supporters and donors about the animals’ whereabouts. He was doing this to get donations for the shelter and to get rid of animals they could not adopt out. With 30,000 fans on Facebook, this was no small scam.
What we know now is that police are investigating the situation for fraud while he his unable to be prosecuted for any crimes against the animals as we have no animal welfare laws that would prevent him from abusing his animals as he pleased. The remaining animals have been relinquished to the other rescue in Da Nang and Vietnam Animal Rescue And Aid (VAAR), has offered our veterinary services to the them to ensure that they are all ready for fostering and adoption.”
There are estimates that anywhere from two to five million dogs are butchered for meat every year in Vietnam. Considered a delicacy by some, there is a pervasive belief that dog meat will increase virility. A new disturbing trend has emerged, stealing beloved family pets for the meat trade. It is costly to run a dog meat farm, so picking up strays and the growing number of pets has become a quick and easy way to supply the markets.
This revelation is a setback for nonprofits everywhere and the trust that people have for their goodwill. It is a also a reminder to research as much as possible and choose carefully before you give your support.