As far as skiing goes, Gus Kenworthy, silver medalist at the Sochi Olympics, has more on his mind that the slopes.
After medalling in the Winter Olympics in Russia four years ago, Kenworthy made time between his grueling workouts and training to rescue three dogs from homelessness. Mamuchka, and two puppies, Mishka & Jake, now live with the Olympic skier’s mother.
This year, Kenworthy attended the Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, but his goal was much different.
On Saturday, along with his boyfriend, Matt Wilkus, they visited a dog farm, and with the help from team members of Humane Society International (HSI), they rescued 90 dogs that were next on the chopping block, to be butchered for the local meat trade.
The dogs found at the farm were found barely alive in the harsh winter weather. During an interview with The Dodo, Kelly O’Meara, vice president of companion animals & engagement at HSI, told the website:
“The dogs are freezing and exposed to all of the elements, in their metal cages or makeshift wooden boxes.”
“In addition, they are overcrowded in their cages, barely able to move around, or tied so closely to their boxes that they can only move forward and backward
They often bark and scramble at the front of the bars of their cages or end of their chains as we walk by, just to get a moment of attention from humans”
Later on Instagram, Kenworthy wrote
“I was told that the dogs on this particular farm were kept in ‘good conditions’ by comparison to other farms.
The dogs here are malnourished and physically abused, crammed into tiny wire-floored pens, and exposed to the freezing winter elements and scorching summer conditions.
When it comes time to put one down it is done so in front of the other dogs by means of electrocution sometimes taking up to 20 agonizing minutes.”
He continued to write:
“Despite the beliefs of some, these dogs are no different from the ones we call pets back home. Some of them were even pets at one time and were stolen or found and sold into the dog meat trade.”
Surprisingly, the owner of this canine slaughter farm had actually contacted HSI about closing the farm due to a change of heart; HSI were more than happy to help that happen. Even though the owner had been farming dogs for over 10 years, he had enough and wanted to close down this nightmare for good.
Despite his past actions, he was eager to see this slaughter farm be gone forever.
“He did not want to send his dogs to slaughter, so he reached out to HSI to help him close the farm, rescue the dogs and transition to a new livelihood of mushroom farming,” O’Meara said.
The HSI is already preparing to transport all 90 dogs to Canada, to help them find permanent & loving homes. Kenworthy even decided to take in one of the rescued dogs himself – a little puppy named Beemo.