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5 Dogs Saved From Chinese Dog Meat Festival Arrive In Bay Area For Adoption

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Five very lucky dogs have landed in the Bay Area on a flight from China where they were about to get slaughtered for their meat at the infamous Yulin dog meat festival.

They arrived earlier Monday at SFO on a flight straight out of Beijing.

A Sunnyvale woman named Andrea Gung stepped in to rescue the dogs. Gung runs the Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project. She placed the dogs in foster care in China, and has accompanied them back to the Bay Area.

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Now, the dogs all have a home for the holidays. From SFO, some will go to families in Chicago and Los Angeles. But one little dog named Ai-Ai is going to the Rhein family in San Mateo county. They were on hand at the airport to bring her home.

"We're very excited about bringing her into our family and loving her," said Jim Rhein.

China is one of the few countries where eating dog and cat meat is still legal.

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Gung and local filmmaker Eric Peltier are trying to draw attention to the problem by documenting the problem in China. Earlier this year, they flew to China and traveled to the south to video the dog and cat meat trade, where the animals are slaughtered for human consumption.

It's a grim business.

Peltier recently screened his footage for KPIX 5 news. The slaughterhouses that they saw operate in the middle of the night, in the back alleys.

The crew, which included local Chinese activists who want to see an end to this trade, was attacked with boiling water. The film maker and Gung were also harassed at the dog and cat meat markets.

"They don't want you filming this - no - absolutely not," explained Peltier.

The slaughterhouse, where the dogs arrive crammed into tiny crates and the meat markets are located in Guangdong province, California's official sister state.

"It's the largest dog meat and cat meat distribution center - wholesale market - in China," said Gung.

Gung and Peltier are urging California Governor Jerry Brown to put pressure on Guangdong to let them know that the dog and cat meat trade is really going to damage the sister state relationship.

"He should know what is happening in China because I think he can do something about it" added Peltier.

Gung explained how a growing number of younger Chinese men and women abhor the practice and are trying to stop it.

At a rally in Union Square, many Chinese-Americans agreed that the trafficking in dog and cat meat must stop.

In the crowd: Miss S.F. Chinatown 2014 Shirley Liu signed a petition, asking that the governor get involved.

"I think they should stop this," said Liu who brought her dog with her.

"We should treat dogs like they are human not like just a dog she's not just a dog. She's a family member she's my baby," added Liu.

Also in the crowd was former California Assemblyman Paul Fong, who authored California's shark fin ban which Governor Brown signed.

"This is a very important issue. This is a cruelty to animal issue. This is an animal protection issue. We need to bring China up to the modern world right now," said Fong.

As for Gung and Peltier, they just want to get the word out.

Many of the dogs they saw were still wearing collars. Many of the animals about to be butchered are stolen pets.

"Imagine your pets end up in a place like this," said Peltier.

2 years ago, Gung rescued this dog from a Chinese slaughterhouse.  She paid $10 for the little pooch.

The dog is named Duo Duo which Gung says means "a little extra." The dog was adopted by Peltier and his wife Martha Lackritz.

"She was probably a day away from being sold to a butcher and eaten." said Lackritz.

"She's lucky - one lucky girl," said Gung.

Their hope: That all dogs and cats in China will one day be just as lucky.

As for the five dogs that arrived at SFO, they will be known as the "Yulin Ambassadors." Their job is to educate all who meet them about the dark trade that almost killed them, and to offer hope to those who remain in danger.

To help these animals, check out the links below.

Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project

Petition to Governor Jerry Brown

Yulin Dog Meat Festival

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