He’s like if Rambo went to the dogs.
Jeffrey Beri, a tough, native New Yorker, is on a mission to save canines around the world from all forms of misfortune — including torture, painful death and even consumption as a delicacy.
Heading up the non-profit No Dogs Left Behind, Beri has traveled around the globe, pulling pooches out of harm’s way in hotspots that include Afghanistan, China (home of the barbaric Lychee and Dog Meat Festival) and, most recently, war-torn Ukraine.
“I go to places where other people won’t go and do things that other people won’t do,” he told The Post. “That’s who I am.”
Previously, Beri led a more genteel life, as a manufacturing and quality-control specialist for the jeweler David Yurman. But after seeing the 2014 animal-agriculture expose “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret,” he “wanted to do something that makes change.”
His first big project was in 2016, when he first traveled to China — where dog meat is eaten in an effort to promote good health and virility — to free canines headed for slaughter.
“I work with volunteer activists,” Beri explained. “We find out about a truck transporting dogs, surround it with cars and motorcycles and call for the authorities. Sometimes the traffickers respond by pelting us with live and dead dogs.”
And then there was the time that Beri and his team rescued 1,300 dogs from what he describes as “reckless slaughter” — due to a belief that the release of adrenaline will tenderize the dog meat and enhance its benefits, wet-market butchers feel justified in skinning the dogs alive or blowtorching them.
“Volunteers were getting hit with shovels and sticks and pipes,” said Beri, of the 2018 showdown in Guangzhou. “We found out that [the traders] would be waiting for us at our shelter — they wanted their dogs back and were willing 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 stop. 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.’
“That made me feel great, but there is still a lot of work to do.”
Hoping to expose the overall cruelty of China’s notorious wet markets, Beri assembled a crew of locals and sent them into one, on the outskirts of Yulin, in 2021, wearing spy glasses outfitted with tiny video cameras. He waited in an adjacent parking lot, inside a van, downloading the incredibly disturbing footage — including dogs hung on meat hooks and being blowtorched — which The Post has seen.
Exploits like that one have made Beri into a marked man, and Chinese authorities have come down hard on him.
“I’ve spent six hours being questioned by Chinese police,” he said. “It is scary.”
Beri added that he engages in “front-line, risk-your-life types of activities. I’ve been followed by Chinese secret service. They’ve stayed in hotel rooms next door to me. I’ve had people on foot and on mopeds trailing me … people wonder why I have not been arrested. There really is no answer. All I can think is that they don’t want to turn me into a martyr.
“Anyone can be made to disappear in China.”
In Afghanistan, this past January, he made a run to save dogs left behind in Kabul, including some service animals that had been used by the American military, with an organization called Kasar Kabul Small Animal Rescue.
“In the end,” Beri said, “I transported out close to 200 dogs and 100 cats in a Russian cargo plane. Twenty-one of the dogs were American bomb sniffing dogs and riot-control dogs. The Taliban wanted them. So, to disguise the war dogs, we smeared their cages with feces” — which made the dogs seem undisciplined and less like special breeds that the American military had trained.
“Ninety minutes before the flight had to take off — it would be grounded — we were questioned by the Taliban. They were heavily armed with AK-47s, always prepared for battle and telling me that they would not let us go.”
But Beri — who adopted two dogs from that trip, as well as a pup from China — got lucky when the group’s security leader asked where he resided. “I was living in Canada at the time,” he said, explaining that No Dogs Left Behind has a shelter in Toronto. “I told him as much and he asked if I could help him get a visa to Canada. I gave him my WhatsApp and offered to assist. That conversation went on for 20 minutes and I think it contributed to us getting out alive and with the dogs.”
And if the escape gambit hadn’t worked? “No government could have done shit to help us at that point.”
This past summer, In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Beri assembled his crew — including a driver, a fixer, a videographer and a veterinarian — and headed to the city of Gostomel, which has become overrun with stray animals.
“Russian snipers shot the mayor there and residential buildings were blown up. Dogs were killed by Russian soldiers and a lot of them were on the loose,” Beri, 57, told The Post. “We went looking for stray dogs in the blue zone, a location where landmines were still active. I heard explosions going off and felt the ground rumbling. Anything could have happened there. We wore bullet proof vests to rescue [strays].”
Beri described the process as “catch and release,” explaining that “we catch the strays, vaccinate them, implant scannable microchips and ear-tag them so that villagers and police know they are safe animals. The next step will be to take the dogs and cats out of Ukraine. We will begin doing that in November. The animals will have proper documentation and exit through Hungary. If it is successful, we will have a pipeline of them heading out and being put up for adoption.”
Coming up: a trip to Barcelona, Spain, where Galgos, a breed of hunting dogs, are used to track Spanish rabbits. “Afterwards, the dogs that underperform are discarded, sometimes thrown down wells and hanged. They’re treated like perishables, and the Spanish government wants to take away animal welfare rights for the Galgos, which is f–king nuts,” said Beri, who is helping to arrange protests about this situation at Spanish embassies around the world on October 16.
“My plan is to go there during hunting season, undercover as an American hunter. I’ll find out what goes on without having to grab a gun and kill anything. The plan is still being formulated.”