It’s like Rambo goes to the dogs.
Jeffrey Beri, a tough, native New Yorker, is on a mission to save dogs everywhere from all forms of misfortune, including torture, painful death, and even consumption as a delicacy.
Head of the non-profit organization No Dogs Left Behind, Beri has traveled the world, bringing pooches out of harm’s way in hotspots such as Afghanistan, China (home of the Barbaric Lychee Festival and dog meat) and, more recently, war-torn. Ukraine.
“I go places other people don’t and I do things other people won’t,” he told the Post. “It’s who I am.”
Previously, Beri led a more distinguished life, as a manufacturing and quality control specialist for jeweler David Yurman. But after seeing the 2014 animal agriculture exhibit “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret,” he “wanted to do something life-changing.”
His first major project dates back to 2016, when he first traveled to China – where dog meat is eaten to promote good health and virility – to free dogs destined for the slaughterhouse. .
“I work with volunteer activists,” Beri explained. “We find a truck carrying dogs, surround it with cars and motorbikes and call the authorities. Sometimes the traffickers react by bombarding us with live and dead dogs. »
And then there was the time Beri and his team saved 1,300 dogs from what he describes as “reckless slaughter” – due to the belief that the release of adrenaline tenderizes dog meat and improves his benefits, wet market butchers feel justified in skinning the live dogs or blowtorch them.
“Volunteers were getting hit with shovels, sticks and pipes,” Beri said of the 2018 confrontation in Guangzhou. “We discovered that [the traders] waiting for us in our shelter – they wanted their dogs back and were ready to fight for them. So I called our partners [members of animal rights groups based in China] and asked them to send trucks to meet us at a rest area. We transferred the dogs and sent them to Beijing. I arrived at the shelter in an empty truck. The butchers were there to fight me. But they saw that we had no dogs and said, ‘You have won this battle.’
“It made me feel good, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”
Hoping to expose the general cruelty of China’s notorious wet markets, Beri assembled a team of locals and sent them to one, on the outskirts of Yulin, in 2021, wearing spy glasses equipped with tiny video cameras. He waited in an adjacent parking lot, inside a van, uploading the incredibly disturbing footage – including dogs hanging on meat and blowtorch hooks – that The Post saw.
Feats like that made Beri a marked man, and the Chinese authorities criticized him harshly.
“I spent six hours being interrogated by Chinese police,” he said. “It’s frightening.”
Beri added that he was engaging in “front line activities, risking your life. I was followed by the Chinese secret services. They stayed in hotel rooms near my house. I had people on foot and on mopeds following me… people wonder why I wasn’t arrested. There really is no answer. All I can think is that they don’t want to make a martyr out of me.
“Anyone can be made to disappear in China.”
In Afghanistan last January, he ran to rescue dogs left behind in Kabul, including some service animals that had been used by the US military, with an organization called Kasar Kabul Small Animal Rescue.
“In the end,” Beri said, “I transported almost 200 dogs and 100 cats on a Russian cargo plane. Twenty-one of the dogs were American bomb-sniffing dogs and riot dogs. Taliban wanted them, so to disguise the war dogs, we coated their cages with feces,” which made the dogs appear unruly and less like special breeds that the US military had trained.
“Ninety minutes before the flight took off – it would be grounded – we were interrogated by the Taliban. They were heavily armed with AK-47s, always ready for battle and telling me they wouldn’t let us go.
But Beri – who adopted two dogs from that trip, as well as a puppy from China – was lucky when the group’s security chief asked where he was staying. “I was living in Canada at the time,” he said, explaining that No Dogs Left Behind has a shelter in Toronto. “I told him and he asked me if I could help him get a visa for Canada. I gave her my WhatsApp and offered to help her. This conversation lasted 20 minutes and I think it got us out alive and with the dogs.
What if the escape bet hadn’t worked out? “No government could have done shit to help us at that time.”
Last summer, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Beri assembled his team – including a driver, repairman, videographer and vet – and headed to the town of Gostomel, which has become overrun with stray animals.
“Russian snipers shot at the mayor there and residential buildings were blown up. Dogs were killed by Russian soldiers and many of them were on the loose,” Beri, 57, told the Post. “We went to look for stray dogs in the blue zone, a place where landmines were still active. I heard explosions and felt the ground rumble. Anything could have happened there. We wore bulletproof vests to rescue [strays].”
Beri described the process as “catch and release”, explaining that “we catch the strays, vaccinate them, implant them with scannable microchips and ear tag them so the villagers and the police know they are safe animals. The next step will be to get dogs and cats out of Ukraine. We will start doing this in November. The animals will have proper documentation and will exit through Hungary. If this is successful, we will have a pipeline of them leaving and being put up for adoption.
Coming soon: a trip to Barcelona, Spain, where Galgos, a breed of hunting dogs, are used to hunt down Spanish rabbits. “Afterwards, the dogs that are not performing are thrown away, sometimes thrown into wells and hanged. They are treated like perishables, and the Spanish government wants to take away animal welfare rights for Galgos, which is fucking crazy,” said Beri, who helps organize protests against this situation in Spanish embassies. around the world in October. 16.
“My plan is to go during hunting season, undercover as an American hunter. I’ll find out what’s going on without having to pick up a gun and kill anything. The plan is still being developed.