Hero of stray dogs

September 10, 2022 - 10:46
Taking care of more than 50 “kids” who are abandoned dogs and cats, Lieutenant Lê Hùng Dương is called a hero of cats and dogs by many.

By Kiều Trinh

Single but always busy taking care of more than 50 “kids” who are abandoned dogs and cats, Lieutenant Lê Hùng Dương (Đắk Lắk) is called a hero of cats and dogs by many.

Since 2017, as a criminal police officer, Dương and his colleagues have chased down many criminals, including dog and cat thieves. Having always loved animals since childhood, the lieutenant gradually became a specialist in rescuing dogs that were electrocuted by thieves, beaten, abandoned, or about to be sent to the slaughterhouse.

“My decision to choose the job, the passion, of rescuing stray dogs and cats stems from my love for these animals from my childhood. While at the Criminal Police Department, I was assigned to the tracking and arresting of criminals, of which dog and cat thieves were particularly aggravating. We were determined and solved many cases involving stolen cattle, goats, dogs, and cats with other local police forces,” Dương said.

In particular, during a shift, Dương accidentally discovered two suspects on a motorbike carrying suspicious sacks. Dương drove his bike straight into the two. The subjects panicked and ran away, leaving the big sacks on the ground.

"When I opened the sack, I saw a lot of dogs inside, many of them were dead. Some of the survivors seem to only have time to look at me once to say thanks and then take their last breath. Among these, there was a pregnant dog that was about to give birth. Having been electrocuted and locked in a sealed sack, she was suffocated and so weak. I took her to my place and tried to save her. However, in the end, only one child of this dog was kept. I have raised him for five years and treat him like my own son."

The lieutenant loves the dogs that he rescued like his own children. Photo courtesy by Lê Hùng Dương

“Dogs and cats are usually taken from surrounding provinces and gathered here, then transported to the north. Recently, the number of culprits has reduced significantly. After they were caught and advised, and signed the necessary paperwork, we talked heart-to-heart to culprits to help them give up their ways. Sometimes, I take them to the dog slaughterhouses. Seeing the butcher physically jab a rod into the dogs’ neck to kill them, many culprits tell me they used to steal dogs and cats, but they had no idea how cruel these slaughterhouses were, and asked for forgiveness. Some of them actually adopt the pets I have rescued, even volunteering to work with us to recompense for their actions.”

Along with freeing cats and dogs from thieves, Dương is also ready to rescue abandoned or abused pets. Once, when the online community warned about a dog with its muzzle tied up wandering aimlessly, with volunteer friends, Dương drove 50 km to the area where the dog was seen. After three days, his team was able to save the dog.

“At that time, its mouth was completely sore. The dog's sad look broke my heart. We were so happy to have successfully rescued it,” Dương recalled.

Sometimes, seeing people driving a dog cage to sell to the slaughterhouse, Dương collected all his money to buy all the dogs to rescue them. “When I look deep into their eyes, they look like innocent children, and sometimes I’m moved to the point of tears. I feel so sorry for them and more determined to devote all my strength to saving those poor dogs," Dương said.

Dương tries to rescue the dogs being taken to the slaughterhouse. Photo courtesy by Lê Hùng Dương

A typical day for Lieutenant Dương is extremely busy. He gets up at 5am to clean up dog and cat litter, go to the market and cook for them, then go to work. At noon, he returns to cook porridge for his "children" and feed the paralyzed cats and dogs. At the end of the afternoon, every process repeats until 2am or 3am. Only then does the man take time for himself.

With a meagre salary, Dương has to do many other jobs to raise pets. He is not afraid of anything, as long as it is enough to cover the lives of his dogs and cats. "I have many friends, so I also have a lot of odd jobs to do. From cleaning houses, working as an auxiliary bricklayer, or as a loader, I do it all. Knowing that I rescue and take care of abandoned cats and dogs, people often give me more money to take care of them," Dương said.

Lê Hùng Dương and the dogs he saved. Photo courtesy of Lê Hùng Dương

For five years doing this job silently, Lieutenant Dương and his friends have been rescuing hundreds of dogs and cats of all kinds.

“Currently, people across Việt Nam want to spread love to the animals and hope the Government will pass a law granting cats and dogs the rights to be free, to be loved, and to live, because these animals are company and not food,” he said. - VNS