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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 7 July, 2020

From the streets of Thailand to a living room in Ireland: One dog's story

Chaya escaped abduction into the dog-meat market when she was adopted by Deirdre McDonnell

FOR PEOPLE LIVING in Ireland – the thought of eating dog meat is unthinkable.

In Vietnam however, this is not the case. Each year an estimated 5 million dogs a year are eaten in restaurants around country.

The process of supply sees the animals abducted from the streets of Thailand and transported across the border into Vietnam for consumption. Among the canines taken are often a large number of family pets.

chaya dog - sans leg Source: Deirdre McDonnell

Seeing the suffering

For Deirdre McDonnell, seeing the suffering of animals in Thailand was too much – and she was compelled to do something about it. This has seen her adopt her dog, Chaya, a three legged 10-year-old.

Speaking to, McDonnell said, “they find it really difficult to re-home dogs in Thailand – they want designer dogs, not street dogs.”

She is getting on great. She was a street dog and we think she had a car accident – so she only has three legs, but she’s such a great dog.

You have to give them time to settle in -but it is going really well. She has certainly taken to the couch.

dog picture 3 Source: Deirdre Mcdonnell

Vietnamese meat market

The demand for dogs from the Vietnamese meat market means that the animals are at constant threat of abduction. Deirdre, who also has two Irish dogs she adopted from Irish rescues, adopted the dog through Thai-based charity ‘Soi Dog‘.

In 2012 the organisation housed more than 350 dogs in Thailand and abroad. Overall it is thought they have saved around 1,500 animals.

Much of the time – the worse thing is what happens to the animals after they are sold into the meat industry. McDonnell explains the appeal that eating dog has:

It is supposed to improve men’s sex lives – there is also a myth that if you abuse the dog before they die the more tenderised the meat is. Some of the stuff is just horrific. Often the dogs are skinned alive.

More to come?

On the prospect of more dogs coming into Ireland – there is another dog, called Naomi, who was rescued directly out of the meat industry, and is planned to arrive in Ireland later this year.

Despite being told that adopting a dog from abroad would be difficult – with the extra measures involved in gaining entry into Ireland – it seems Deirdre couldn’t be happier with her three-legged canine companion Chaya.

Read: This Wicklow pet day care held an adorable Halloween party just for dogs

Also: Your pets hate Halloween – here’s how to make them feel better

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