When 29-year-old Wang Yan left his home in Jilan province to search for his missing dog in 2012, he probably never imagined that he would by today have saved more than 2,000 dogs - and gone broke in the process.
But that’s just what happened to the Gelong town resident and former steel tycoon after his desperate search for his lost four-legged friend brought him to a local slaughterhouse. Sadly, Yan did not find his dog there. Instead, he found scenes of bloody carnage against stray dogs that seared his heart and soul and forged a steely will to take action.
Yan emptied his nest egg to buy and shut down the slaughterhouse then purchase an abandoned steel factory nearby which he converted into an animal shelter, the Changchun Animal Rescue Base. To date, Yan has spent three million yuan (about $470,000).
As many as 1,000 dogs at one time have found refuge under Yan’s generosity. Most have found homes. Currently, there slightly more than 200 dogs available for adoption by loving families. Though Yan has incurred serious debt through his venture he refuses to accept monetary donations, he told the Shanghaiist. However, he gladly accepts supplies to keep the shelter going. His biggest concern is keeping the dogs warm during the predicted harsh winter months ahead.
China is notorious for human rights violations, cyber sabotage, the filthiest air on the planet and its “final (and profitable) solution” to the stray dog “problem.” An estimated 10,000 dogs are slaughtered each year to mark the summer solstice during the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. You can read about the valiant efforts by Humane Society International to halt the hankering for dog meat in Asia and elsewhere.
While I wonder whether those who profited from the sale of the slaughterhouse will simply re-invest in another one, I am heartened by the tale of one man who spent his entire fortune to find another of even greater value.