In February, there was a large fire in the East District of Ulsan, a port city on the south east coast of South Korea. The fire engulfed a dog meat farm in which some of the dogs suffered severe burns. Instead of rescuing and tending to the injured dogs, however, the farm owner decided to abandon them, leaving them to die from their injuries one by one. The owner left the dead bodies to rot unattended.
A month later in March, a local government official and a policeman went to the site after receiving a report from a member of the public. They found Ganggeoni shivering and emaciated, with skin peeling off his face and down his back all the way to his tail. The owner at first refused to surrender the dog, but relented when we told him he would be charged with animal abuse.
Ganggeoni was taken to a local shelter as per procedure, but the Animal Rescue Team decided to transport him to Seoul, as he appeared to be on the verge of death, in order to try to save his life.
We can’t treat these severe burns here!
We stopped at two vets for first aid. However, both said they couldn’t treat him as his condition was too severe for their limited facilities. The injuries to the back and face had been left unattended for a month, and secondary infection had set in damaging the tissue even more. “Take him Immediately to a large veterinary hospital, otherwise he may die of septicemia.” said the vet. The poor dog couldn’t even blink as we drove him 8 hours to a large veterinary hospital in Seoul.
The dog had survived half burned and starving for a month; ears and eyelids burned away, skin peeling and nothing but skin and bone. We couldn’t begin to imagine how much pain he was in. We implored the veterinarians to save him if they could. That’s why the Animal Rescue team named him “Ganggeoni.” It means “Toughness” in Korean.
Ganggeoni is currently undergoing emergency treatment. His damaged skin has necrotized, and there are pockets of pus all over his body. Even slight movements are painful. He can’t close his eyes, so artificial tears need to be applied regularly. We are not sure how long the treatment will last, nor how long recovery will take, and it’s not yet certain that he is out of danger. The good news is that he has started eating well, which is always a good sign.
Like his name suggests, Ganggeoni is a survivor.
If you would like to help Ganggeoni, or would like to help the hundreds of abandoned, neglected and abused animals that need rescuing in South Korea, please consider making a donation.