Dozens of dogs escaped getting slaughtered for their meat as they were being smuggled across provincial borders, though some sadly died during the inhumane transportation conditions.
Yesterday, two men, one from Jakarta and another from Central Java, drove a pickup truck carrying 78 dogs — which were shoved inside burlap sacks — and were headed for Solo, Central Java. As they were crossing Kulonprogo in Yogyakarta soon after midnight, they were stopped by traffic police at a checkpoint — set up to enforce the mudik homecoming tradition ban — and were taken to the local precinct for questioning over their cargo.
Police said of the 78 dogs, 10 had died when they were being transported in the pickup truck.
“The dogs were purchased in Garut, West Java, and the truck was driving through Kulonprogo on its way to Solo. The dogs were going to be sold there to be turned into food, like dog meat tongseng (traditional spicy stew),” Kulonprogo Police spokesman Jeffry Prana Widnyana said.
The two men may face up to seven years each in prison for animal abuse.
The dogs that survived, police said, are in worrying conditions. One dog has since died, and the remaining 67 have been placed at a shelter operated by Ron Ron Dog Care in Yogyakarta.
“[During the trip] they were dehydrated, hungry, and they require medical attention,” Ron Ron Dog Care founder Victor Indra Buana said today, adding that the dogs were likely kept in the sacks for up to three days.
Though it is not eaten widely throughout Indonesia, dog meat is popular in certain regions and demand for it fuels an industry that animal rights activists have denounced as not just cruel but also a threat to public health.
In 2018, activists scored a victory in getting officials from multiple government agencies to agree to work towards banning the trade, including a commitment from the Central Java administration to ban the trade in Solo, where a 2019 investigation found that around 13,700 dogs are brutally slaughtered each month to meet demand in the city.