Earlier this week, photos of dogs stuffed in sacks and being transported in a mini truck in Mizoram went viral. The photos, shot by a dog lover and posted on social media led to the rescue of 17 dogs at Kolashib, about 90 kilometres from state capital Aizawl.
The dogs were being taken illegally for slaughter to Aizawl. The post was picked up by the volunteers of Purr Paws Foundation, a group which is spearheading anti-dog meat campaign on social media in the north east.
"A friend of mine took those pictures and posted, he in-boxed me saying that the dogs are being tied and taken away, they are crying and I copied and forwarded on our Purr Paws WhatsApp groups. Then we did not have the DGP's number, we again asked on social media and we got the number and we contacted police," said Ornella Pachuau, a member of Purr Paws Foundation from Aizawl.
Few days ago, thanks to a similar social media tip off, volunteers recovered 26 dogs from Shillong. The dogs were all in trauma, with limbs tied and sealed in sacks.
There is no account of how many dogs are killed for their meat. Rescue volunteers are often trolled since many in the tribal societies see eating dog meat as part of their food culture.
"Social media has been very helpful connecting volunteers together, still there are trolls that we face, people use slang language and try to demotivate us and more than that some people from the administration feel that eating dog meat is part of their culture, although there is a Supreme Court verdict stating its illegal," Nandini Baruva, the founder of Purr Paws told NDTV.
Social media is also being used to reach out to dog lovers for adoption of these rescued canines. The response has been very encouraging with nearly 50 dogs saved from the clutches of illegal dog meat traders in a month's time.