A plane load of puppies rescued from South Korea’s dog meat trade has arrived in Toronto thanks to a group of volunteers.

Humane Society International said 18 dogs between eight months and a year old touched down at Pearson International Airport on Tuesday evening. They were kept in harsh conditions and destined for meat markets prior to their rescue.

“They’ve never been out of the cage,” Bill Friend, a volunteer with the group, told CTV Toronto. “We just need to be really patient, because they have been through a lot.”

The pups will undergo rehabilitation in Montreal before being put up for adoption.

With a report from CTV Toronto’s Sean Leathong