Recently, we received news from animal rights activists near Daegu, a large city in the south of Korea, that an animal shelter contracted by Cheongsong County in North Gyeongsang Province was located right next to a dog slaughterhouse. Slaughtering equipment was reported to have been found at the site.
On investigation, we found that the reports were valid; the “shelter” was indeed a slaughterhouse. The facility that had, without a doubt, only recently been operating as an animal shelter was now filled with steel cages full of dogs with food waste in their bowls.
LPG (liquified petroleum gas) torches, oxygen tanks, and a machine that dehairs slaughtered dogs were also found at the site. In one corner was a machine that turned food waste into dog food porridge.
It was shocking to discover that abandoned pets were being kept in a slaughterhouse, instead of what was supposed to be a safe haven.
We found out that the county’s contract with the shelter had been cancelled back in December 2019 due to protests from local activists.
Initially, Cheongsong County was looking for people who would help capture stray pets, but was unsuccessful. As a result, the county decided to make a contract with a man who agreed to help capture wild boars instead. The county claimed this man was also the owner of the dogs.
Currently, there is only one other animal shelter in Cheongsong County.
Our staff, local activists, and Cheongsong County representatives looked around the site and received the following agreement:
- To improve the conditions of the facility
- To allow local activists to visit any time
- To keep an open discussion on the operation and management of the facility
Cheongsong County has requested around a 30 million Korean Won (Approx. $25,350 US) budget for renovation costs.
Nevertheless, there are still questions remaining, such as why the contract with the animal shelter was cancelled after being maintained by Cheongsong County from February 2018 to December 2019. Through a Freedom of Information request, we plan to look further into the operation and management details of the facility.
Without the banning of dog slaughter, more issues like this will inevitably surface. It is likely that there are a myriad of other undetected government-operated animal shelters, where similar things could be taking place. We will endeavor to keep an eye on them, too.