By Dan Coles
An animal lover has rescued more than 300 dogs from Chinese meat markets and brought them back to the UK – but said the pooches she couldn’t save still haunt her.
Charity worker Kerry Elliman, 40, began saving dogs from the ‘hellish’ horrors of the Chinese dog meat industry in 2017 in addition to her work in the UK saving racing greyhounds.
Since then, her charity Candy Cain Rescue has cared for and rehomed more than 300 pooches of all breeds.
After Kerry, from Birmingham, has rescued the pups she finds them loving forever homes in the UK and America and Europe – with nine currently living in her own home.
But she admitted the shocking scenes from the dog meat industry – including dogs being skinned, boiled, and ripped apart alive still haunt her today.
Mum-of-one Kerry, who is currently expecting her second child, said: “When I last went to China in October 2018, it took me about three weeks to get my head around the horrors I saw.
“When I saw the dog meat markets, it was like someone had taken me to hell.
“It was as if I wasn’t on this planet, I felt like an alien.
“It makes me so happy seeing them In homes, safe and settled, because then I know I’ve made a difference.”
Dog lover Kerry originally supported the rescue of greyhounds in the UK from forced racing.
She eventually began investigating the export of racing dogs from the UK to different countries and discovered lots were being sent to China to take part in illegal underground racing, a booming industry in the country.
Kerry then discovered the flourishing Chinese dog meat trade and discovered once greyhounds were of no use on the track, they were sold to be eaten.
She now helps all breeds of dog to be saved from being cooked alive and eaten.
Amongst other horrors, the first time she went she found a poodle, who had one eye and whose skin had burnt off of its back by having boiling water being poured onto it.
Kerry said: “Greyhound racing is massive in China, but it happens underground.
“Multimillionaires pay top money in China for racing dogs, who then breed them until they drop.
“The offspring of these racing dogs are then bred to be sold for the meat market, along with all other breeds.”
Candy Cain raise up to £8,000 per animal to treat and rehome each dog into a new, safe environment – raising hundreds of thousands of pounds to date.
This involves working with another charity in China, Plush Bear.
Once they are approved for travel, Kerry finds homes for the pooches in the UK, American and Europe, where they’re matched with adoptees looking to home a new pet.
Former carer Kerry said her newfound career has featured a mix of good moments, as well as bad – but she is pleased so far she has managed to make a difference to the lives of hundreds of dogs which otherwise would have been victim to vicious abuse and eventual death.
Kerry said: “Finding the dogs is the best part.
“Finding greyhounds in meat markets in China in particular was a personal victory for me even though i didn’t want to find them, as everyone told me I wouldn’t find them in the meat trade.
“I knew they were there, and I found them.
“But there have also been loads of awful days.
“I was asked to save 20 dogs that were scheduled to be killed the next day, but I didn’t have the means to save them.
“Knowing they were going to the slaughter the next day and not being able to save them was the hardest, and is the hardest part of what I do.
“When I went to China in October, we rescued over 25 dogs, 12 of which are coming to the UK today [TUES].
“That’s what keeps me going.”