When Sheltering Becomes Abuse
We were called to investigate a cat shelter in Masan, a city on the southern coast of South Korea, by volunteers who had worked there and were concerned for the health of the cats.
The owner of the shelter has moved many times and has at times even been unable to pay the electricity bill. Volunteers have protested about the number of deaths at the shelter, the constant influx of cats, and un-neutered cats breeding at the shelter. These protests were ignored and eventually the volunteers left.
The scene at the cat “shelter” was horrific.
100 surviving cats were living in a space of about 66 square meters. many had starved to death, and their decomposing bodies were left with maggots erupting from the corpses.
Litter trays went uncleaned and the stench of urine and feces was overpowering.
Kittens born to the un-neutered cats suffered terribly in this unsanitary environment, many dying because of their undeveloped immune systems and a lack of treatment. Adult cats suffered, too.
CARE, along with Busan and Asan Anti-abuse Association and activists from Busan and Masan, obtained a memorandum of abandonment from the owner, and took the remaining cats into custody. The owner has been declared unfit to run an animal shelter.
Wanting to save abandoned animals is admirable, but ignoring the limits of your resources can lead to a situation like this; conditions in the “shelter” are worse than on the streets, and with the animals unable to leave, it becomes a kind of abuse.
Now CARE and the Busan and Asan Anti-abuse Association have 100 cats that need to be treated, neutered, rehabilitated, fed, and rehomed. We currently have them in a temporary shelter, but will be looking to have them adopted in the next 6 months.
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Even with our combined increased resources, it is still an expensive undertaking.
If you can help in any way; volunteering—if you live in the Masan area—or donations of money or food, it would be a great help. Click on the donate button below or at the top of the page, or visit our volunteer community Facebook page.