We received a report that on March 5th a cat had been admitted to an abandoned animal center in Daegu, a city in the southern part of South Korea, with severe burn injuries to its head.
The cat’s face looked melted with peeling and blackened skin. The hair on its forehead had congealed and was as hard as stone. The examining vet surmised that a spray-type flame had been used to inflict the wounds, and that they were at least five days old. The cat was still in considerable pain and proceeded to bite and scratch the vet throughout the examination. The vet couldn’t be sure if someone had been holding the cat by its neck or back while being burned, but it was consistent with the placement of the injuries. The vet then suggested that the cat be taken to a larger veterinary hospital for a more thorough examination and treatment.
The examination at the larger veterinary hospital revealed that the skin on the right side of the face and around the mouth had come away and was becoming necrotic. The right eye was damaged beyond repair, but the left eye was intact.
The veterinarian confirmed that Nari had had a really hot fire, like a butane torch, directed at her face. If Nari had been caught in a regular fire, her internal organs would have been damaged, but they were undamaged. This meant that a torch or similar device for directing a flame had been deliberately used on the cat’s face.
On March 14th, we went Daegu to investigate, and to check its condition at the veterinary hospital in which it was receiving treatment.
The cat, which we named Nari, was found on some waste ground in an area which is a patchwork of small factories and empty lots. On the waste ground we found 38 empty butane cans, the kind used to heat the hot plates at a Korean barbecue restaurant, and 15 empty cat food tins. While not 100% certain, we could only come to the conclusion that someone had lured Nari with the food, caught him/her, and then proceeded to torture her by blow-torching her head.
At the veterinary hospital, she was crouched in the corner of the cage with her face wrapped in bandages bandages. When the veterinarian applied antiseptic to the burns, she cried in pain, but didn’t resist.
While Nari is now out of critical danger, she is still in terrible pain, and her recovery will be slow and difficult.
We have put up a banner near where Nari was found for witnesses to come forward with information about this terrible abuse, offering a reward of ￦1,000,00 ($1,000) for evidence that leads to an arrest and conviction. We also met the lady who used to feed Nari. She said she saw her with a burnt face since the end of February, but couldn’t help because she would run away when approached. She continued to put food out for her, however, and this probably enabled her to survive as long as she did.
This is a particularly disgusting crime, as stray cats might once have been pets, or might have been fed by kind-hearted people like the lady above, and are often generally trusting of humans. Abuse such as this shocks even the most experienced of animal care professionals. Some of the staff at the veterinary hospital told us they cried when they first saw Nari, and heard her pitiful cries of pain.
If you would like to help Nari, or would like to help the hundreds of abandoned and abused animals that need rescuing in South Korea, please consider making a donation.