It should be no secret to anyone that I am a big time dog lover. (Don’t get me wrong, I love cats as well, but you can’t easily walk cats.) I love walking a dog or dogs. In recent years I’ve walked as many as four at a time. (I know, I can’t believe it when I think about it myself!)
So it shocked me to the core when, a few months ago, I found a press release in my mailbox* about how the San Francisco S.P.C.A. had partnered with Humane Society International, bringing dogs over from South Korea where they had been rescued from “dog farms” — farms where dogs were raised to be slaughtered and their meat sold for food.
(I’ve reported-produced-photographed a number of animal/pet-related stories over the years, so anything that comes into the newsroom about furry four-legged creatures seems to find its way to me. — And I am glad to do them!)
I knew this barbaric activity happened in Vietnam, but I had no idea that it still went on in South Korea, a strong U.S. ally, the 13th largest international economy, a rising beacon of youth and cool culture–and where the 2018 Winter Olympics are going to be held . Yet, despite all those pluses, each year over 2 million dogs are consumed in that country of 50 million people.
So–Yes!–I wanted to do a story on this. I knew nothing about this practice, so I wanted more people like me to learn of it and become just as outraged.
I contacted the San Francisco S.P.C.A., who put me in touch with four people who had, collectively, adopted five South Korean dogs, and I got instant approval from KCRA to do the story.
This is the story that ran on KCRA on the 6 O’clock News on Friday, May 13, 2016, to promote the longer story in Common Ground the following evening:
This is the full-length 5 1/2-minute story, that ran as the lead story on KCRA’s Common Ground, our once-a-month news magazine program, where we are not bound by news limitations on running length and can go as long as the story needs and/or can maintain the viewer’s interest.
Rather than write about how I put the story together, I would rather use the words of the people profiled in the story. Whenever I do a story I strive to tell “their story”–so that they will be the most happy to have been a part of it. Their satisfaction is my greatest reward.
PIETER de JONG:
Thank you very much for promoting the Korean dog story and making people aware! Eventually, that will lead to the desirable change. When looking at your video, we also were surprised about the similarity of Jin-Joo and our Keeva. We speculate that Keeva was the mother of Jin-Joo: she arrived at San Francisco International Airport with 6 puppies of about 3-4 months of age and [as far as we know] some of these were sent almost immediately to the Sacramento SPCA. Our other (white) Jindo, Anouk, also came with white puppy “Bob”. Keeva has the same curved & sideways tail, although to the right as opposed to Jin-Joo’s left leaning tail.
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Feel free to reprint. It’s an honor to me, to assist with the Korean dog rescue and promote the story. I hope we can confirm that Keeva and Jin-Joo are in fact related. There is video of Keeva and her 6 pups, made by SFSPCA staff shortly after arrival in March 2015. I’m sure they also have records and RF-ID information of all Korean dogs.
Thank you again for creating the video. I noticed that you wrote several books and am planning to order 2 through Amazon.
That is a beautiful story! Thank you so much for bringing attention to the horrific & cruel dog meat trade. We are deeply moved by your film and grateful for all that you do, informing the public about the plight of these innocent, precious animals. We will link the Youtube on our Instragram so that our followers in Korea can see your film as well …
Wonderful. Thank you for reporting on this!
Definitely sharing widely! Posted to the Facebook group that many Korean dog owners are in and everyone is very happy that you’re helping spread the word!
I’d like you to inform you that I enjoyed the piece that you did about the rescue for the dogs in Korea. I would also like to thank you for taking the time to notify me when I would be able to watch the piece you did. It was very well done and I appreciate it immensely. If you need anymore information about how my dog is adapting to her home, feel free to contact me anytime. Thanks again!
Jin Joo and Sung
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FINAL NOTE OF THANKS:
In putting this story together and expressing my sincerest gratitude to the people who the story is about, I feel a need to also express my personal gratitude to my co-workers at KCRA-3, who have given me the support, encouragement, and complete confidence whenever I go out to do a story on my own, whether it is a same-day general news story or a long-form in-depth piece like this that involves days or weeks of planning, driving, meeting, coordination, and then more days of logging, writing and editing. In particular I must make mention to KCRA news director Lori Waldon, special projects producer Millicent Ozdaglar, 6 O’clock News producer Steve Mellish. There have been times when I have been granted blind trust, when there have been deadlines that did not allow time for anyone to review my scripts or the story before they went on the air. That denotes a great deal of trust in me, which I do not take for granted.