The festival, which occurs annually during the summer solstice, has faced increasing backlash from activists who say the event is cruel, reports Agence France-Presse.
Yang Xiaoyun, 65, was seen in photographs browsing through a market where dogs were kept in cages, before paying about $1,100 to rescue scores of canines.
In the past, animal-rights activists have traveled to Yulin to demonstrate againsta the festival and have been known to buy dogs to save them from being eaten.
According to Hong Kong–based charity Animals Asia, the majority of dog meat in China comes from stolen pets and strays.
The group says many of the dogs are treated inhumanely, kept in tiny cages and poisoned or beaten to death. Nevertheless, eating dogs is legal in the country.
This year, animal lovers including British comedian Ricky Gervais are decrying the festival under the hashtag #StopYulin2015.