Ignorance No Defense Against Animal Protection Laws
We received a report on the evening of the 24th April that an apartment building security guard in Dongdaemoon-gu, Seoul, had buried a cat alive.
Accompanying the report was a video showing the cat clearly alive when the guard dropped it into the hole he had dug to bury it. The guard then hit the cat in the head with the shovel—stunning it or killing it, we do not know—and proceeded to cover the cat with soil, filling the grave, and then finally pressing it flat with the weight of his body.
We set off early on the morning of the 25th to investigate.
According to the residents of the apartment building, the guard was not a cruel man; he was not an animal abuser. There was cat food in his office, and we were told that he would feed the stray cats in the neighborhood. He had never hurt any of the cats, nor any other animal. The residents were at a loss to explain why he would do such a thing.
CCTV footage showed that the cat had been hit by a car and was injured. The guard told us that he wanted to end the cat’s suffering in what he thought was the most humane way; he would kill it quickly and bury it. However, we don’t know that the cat was dead when it was buried.
Unfortunately, the guard’s actions were in contravention of the Animal Protection Act, regardless of how well-intentioned he thought they were.
The cat should have been taken to a vet, and the vet would have decided whether to euthanize the animal in a humane, stress free, and painless way. The guard, through his ignorance, performed a cruel and illegal act, and caused the animal more suffering than was necessary.
Ignorance is not, nor should ever be, protection against the law.
CARE is calling for the guard to be indicted under the law and punished appropriately, regardless of his reported past kind actions.
However, experience has taught us to not always trust what people tell us. We will continue to monitor the situation, investigate and fact-check the guard’s and residents’ statements, and work with the police to uncover the truth.
The cat’s body has been exhumed and brought back to the office for proper burial.