A 65-year-old Chinese woman saved the lives of 100 dogs this weekend when she paid more than $1,000 to prevent them from being slaughtered during an annual dog meat festival in southern China.

Yang Xiaoyun traveled about 1,500 miles to rescue dogs from a market in Yulin, the city where the festival is held.

Xiaoyun plans to transport the dogs to her home in the city of Tianjin where she runs a cat and dog sanctuary called the Common Home for All. The sanctuary is home to about 1,500 dogs and 200 cats, which Xiaoyun calls her children.

She began taking in animals in 1995 when she rescued a kitten from a river. Her husband had recently died and she was contemplating suicide, but Xiaoyun says that helping animals gave her a reason to live.

Her kind act comes amid international outrage over the festival, where about 10,0000 dogs and cats are killed each year, many of which are thought to be stolen pets.

A four-year investigation by Animals Asia found no evidence of breeding facilities for dog meat, leading the organization to conclude that the majority of dogs consumed at the festival are household pets.

While there is historical precedent for the consumption of dog meat in China, the festival dates back to only in 2009.

Numerous animal-welfare organizations are working to end the festival, as well as celebrity activists like comedian Ricky Gervais, who's been tweeting his disgust with the hashtag #StopYuLin2015.

Yulin city government has attempted to distance itself from the event and recently took to micro-blogging site Weibo to state that "the city has never officially organized a 'dog meat festival.'"

Humane Society International is encouraging people to sign a petition to end the festival, as well as urging them to donate to its anti-dog meat campaign.

Learn more about Xiaoyun and her remarkable rescue efforts in the video below, which was filmed in 2009.

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