Local Dog Rescue Looks To End Korean Dog Meat Trade

Patrick Smotzer 


Dog lovers in Bushwick are working to fight against the dog meat trade by educating the public at weekly events and helping the adorable pups find forever homes. 

Their events are usually held every Saturday at 194 Irving Avenue off the Dekalb L train stop. This upcoming weekend, however, they will be hosting their adoption event at Norwind’s Bar (1043 Flushing Ave.) for the “Doggy Pupsicles Pool Party & Fundraiser.”

Korean K9 Rescue was started by Gina Boehler in July 2017. The animal-loving philanthropist originally hailed from South Korea and has years of  experience working in dog rescues. She decided to open one herself after watching a recent documentary that depicted the problem. 

In Korea, dogs are tortured and slaughtered at a staggering rate of 2.5 million each year, compelling Boehler to become a part of the solution. Pairing with Korean activist groups, she has worked tirelessly with her fellow staff members and volunteers — who all hold separate full time jobs — to hopefully decrease these numbers.

Per Boehler, the markets or farms in which these dogs come from have euthanization rates as high as 85%, and only 5% of Koreans adopt from shelters. There is very little chance of survival for most of these dogs, and the strides that this small shelter is taking are huge for the community. All of the people working at Korean K9 Rescue — as well as the dogs — are extremely friendly, especially if you rub the dogs’ bellies, when you head over to their Bushwick location.


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Coming to Bushwick was an easy choice for Boehler. She says a dog adoption rescue fits the Bushwick spirit.

“I think because people [from Bushwick] get what adoption is and they understand what having a rescue dog is. It’s about rescuing and having a meaningful relationship or connection with a dog that wouldn’t have a second chance otherwise.”

Photo by Patrick Smotzer for Bushwick Daily 

Every dog brought into the U.S. must be deemed “healthy,” and are then brought through a program, which tests their ability to transition properly into a domestic environment. This ensures that all dogs are properly domesticated and of an easy temperament, keeping the amount of dogs returned to the shelter at a low rate.

To most, the dog meat trade is an almost unthinkable crime. However, to older generations in Korea, Boehler explains that there tends to be a lack of empathy in the community, along with an inability to distinguish between the other meats of their diets.

According to Boehler, those who indulge in the consumption of dog meat often have an attitude of “I’m eating cows, chickens and pigs. What’s the difference between dog meat?”

The younger Korean community, Boehler says, has shown more pushback to the situation. But, the old customs are still very much a part of the culture, even today.

“People have an apathetic attitude towards it and that’s the part that’s the hardest to teach: compassion,” she said. 

All of the dogs come straight from Korea and with so many animal lovers in Bushwick, there’s a lot of potential for them to find new homes. 

There are numerous ways to get involved with this amazing organization and help this terrible situation. The adoption fees are $550 for an adult dog and at $650 for a puppy. But with the organization covering transportation fees, training, neutering and spaying of the dogs it is more than worth it to provide these dogs a happy forever home.

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If adoption isn’t quite right for you, there are open applications to both foster and volunteer through their easy-to-navigate website. There, you will see all of the dogs up for adoption, as well as the upcoming events in your area.

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