San Francisco SPCA takes in dogs rescued from South Korean meat farm

Humane Society International, the international affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States, worked with the farm owner to remove the dogs from the farm's miserable conditions as the facility closed its doors for good.

The dogs began arriving at the San Francisco SPCA on March 16, taking a major step towards starting new lives.

Adam Parascandola of Humane Society International, who led the rescue, witnessed the dire conditions the animals lived in at the farm.

"The dogs lived in darkness. Very dark small cages, no heating," explained Parascandola. "Winter is very cold in Korea."

One of the disturbing twists to the story is how the SPCA says these dogs would have been killed: by electrocution or by being strung up and hung until dead.

Parascandola told KTVU he witnessed some dogs being killed.

"You can see the guy pick up the electrocution stick. You can hear the dog screaming," he said.

But he also convinced the farmer to hand over the remaining dogs and close the farm.

"He really had a desire to get out of the trade and into something else," said Parascandola.

As part of the plan, the farmer signed an agreement to shut down the property and move into a permanent, humane trade in crop farming. HSI provided assistance to make the transition possible and plans follow the farmer's progress to ensure compliance.

Parascandola says there's a belief among some living in South Korea that dog meat is beneficial for one's health. He says in order to support the industry two million dogs are killed every year.

"It's not legal and it's not illegal. It's a tricky spot, because they are not officially recognized as a food product," Parascandola said.

Humane Society International spent $36,000 to rescue and fly the dogs, of all different breeds, to San Francisco.

The staff at the San Francisco SPCA is now tasked with assessing the health of the animals

Once the animals are evaluated and treated for any medical issues, Humane Society International will be working with its emergency placement partners at the Marin Humane Society and SPCA in San Francisco, Sacramento and the East Bay to find the dogs homes.

"Many of them are shy, but we're confident most can except and live happily in the Bay Area," said Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, co-president of the SF SPCA

HSI is working to reduce the dog meat trade in Asia, including South Korea where dogs are farmed for the trade - and where the 2018 Winter Olympics will be held. The organization plans to work with other dog farmers who agree to get out of the inhumane dog meat trade permanently and transition into trades like crop growing.

Parascandola knows its just one farm and many more need to be shut down, but he is happy in the knowledge that farm is now just a home to empty cages.

"I love seeing the dogs here, but to see those empty cages would have made my week," said Parascandola

On Friday, many of the dogs will be transferred to other animal facilities around the Bay Area. Once out of quarantine, the dogs will be placed up for adoption.