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The animals were being transported by truck to the Yulin dog meat festival which hosts the annual slaughter of thousands of cats and dogs for their meat.
Launched in 2009 by dog meat traders who were looking for a way to boost falling sales, the festival is growing increasingly unpopular as a majority in China don't support eating dog and cat meat.
Public backlash against the cruel festival has been strong for years and there have been efforts to get it shut down for good.
But recently, nearly 400 dogs being taken by truck to Yulin were rescued by NoToDogMeat campaigners who managed to stop the vehicle and get the animals out safely.
While campaigners managed to rescue 386 canine companions, the actual total of dogs they saved stands at 389 after one of the rescued dogs gave birth to three puppies, the Daily Mail reports.
Zhao, one of the campaigners who runs shelters for NoToDogMeat in Beijing and Hebei, said he was sure many of the dogs they'd rescued were actually pets based on the way they'd interacted with people.
He told the Daily Mail: "Many of the dogs know sit and stay, and they still trust humans, we have seen many with tags on, and one was wearing a collar and lead still attached.
Please support our work there. We just raided another slaughterhousehttps://t.co/Ysiikgi6s8— notodogmeat (@notodogmeat) June 29, 2022
"We will work to try and identify the owners, but our priority at the moment is to make sure all of the dogs are healthy and have a safe place to go."
The discovery of several animals wearing collars and tags reinforces the claim from campaigners that a lot of the animals carted off to be slaughtered for the dog meat festival are not reared on dog farms as festival organisers have claimed.
Instead, it seems to point towards many of the animals actually being beloved family pets which were stolen from their homes and taken away to be killed and eaten.
It's hoped that at least some of the stolen pets can be reunited with their families, but for now the priority is making sure the animals are in safe hands and out of reach of those who want to use them for meat.
According to Animals Asia, a Hong Kong based charity, 70 percent of villages in China they surveyed as part of their investigation claimed to have suffered from mysterious losses of dogs.
Theft of pets for their meat is most common in the winter when demand for dog meat reaches its highest levels.
Featured Image Credit: No To Dog Meat/Animal News Agency