Animal savior fights back after going to the dogs

Updated: 2014-06-26 08:27

By Ji Jin in Chongqing and Hou Liqiang in Beijing (China Daily)

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Animal savior fights back after going to the dogs

Dog lover Yang Yuhua looks after her animals in Chongqing on Wednesday. She bought the dogs from dealers at the dog meat festival in Yulin, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. HE HUAIXIANG / FOR CHINA DAILY

Yang Yuhua used to be a wealthy businesswoman, but she ended up more than 700,000 yuan ($112,000) in debt from raising stray animals.

Her husband divorced her and her daughter-in-law left the family because Yang spent too much time and money adopting dogs and cats.

But now Yang plans to restart her hotpot business so that she can continue caring for the animals, which has cost her nearly 3 million yuan so far.

On Saturday, the 64-year-old took part in a protest against the dog meat festival in Yulin, a city in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

She bought more than 130 dogs and 30 cats from Yulin and returned to her Chong-qing home with them. She now has more than 600 adopted animals.

Yang, who also worked as a nurse, spends more than 30,000 yuan a month on the animals. She now has an annual income of more than 70,000 yuan, including a monthly pension of more than 2,000 yuan and rental payments from properties she owns.

She ran several hotpot restaurants when she worked as a nurse and became a yuan millionairess before going broke from raising the animals, said a friend of Yang's, who wanted to be known as Zhao.

Zhao said 200,000 yuan of the 700,000 yuan that Yang owes is to loan sharks. However, Yang says she owes much more but keeps the figure a secret in case her friends won't lend her money.

She said she used to avoid dogs, but in 1986 an incident changed her life.

She tried to chase a lame dog out of one of her restaurants, but her father, who lost all his limbs in an accident, stopped her and said: "Why do you do that? The dog doesn't ask you for food and drink."

Later that winter, the crippled dog helped to prevent a burglary in Yang's restaurant, after which she couldn't stop taking in stray animals, Zhao said.

Yang said: "Dogs are just like humans, only they don't speak but use their bodies to express themselves. They are animals with feelings."

Yang's stepmother and younger brother also have physical disabilities.

Zhao said: "I've tried to persuade her to accept money from good-hearted people several times, but failed. I think she doesn't want others to see her in her current situation."

Yang said she had accepted about 200,000 yuan.