In April, we had a call to attend animal abuse near Buyeo, a town in Chungnam Province, South Korea. A large black dog was being transported in the back of a truck with a professional dog catcher’s noose around its neck. The dog’s head, face and mouth were bleeding heavily and he looked as though he had been beaten with a blunt object.
The quickest we could get there was two and a half hours, so we told the caller to contact the police while waiting for us to arrive. The caller stopped the truck and called two police stations, the city hall, and a number of vets in the area to help.
The person at the city hall and the police did not seem concerned about the abuse, and the vets refused to treat the dog. The police that were eventually dispatched to the scene did not separate the animal from its suspected abuser, instead saying that it might not be abuse but normal treatment of a food dog. One said that after treatment, the abuser could take the dog home and eat him.
Police men and civil servants in the city hall of even the smallest town, are supposed to enforce the laws of the country.
We accuse the police officers of both police stations and the staff of the city hall of dereliction of duty.
The caller eventually had to buy the dog from the abuser in order to get him away to safety. This concerned citizen was a better policeman than those paid to do the job.
South Korea has recently demonstrated that its legal system is strong enough to remove a president from office. However, for a truly strong democracy, the rule of law must apply to all citizens and all crimes big and small, and that those tasked to enforce the laws do so equally and fairly.
South Korea also has a new president who has promised to make this nation better for both people and animals. We and other animal rights activists, and an increasing proportion of the population, hope to see continuing reforms and improvements to animal welfare and protection laws, and the mechanisms of their enforcement and punishments, under the new administration.
We urge President Moon to lead by example and demonstrate his commitment to improving the well-being of both the human and non-human citizens of South Korea.