On May 30th, we and local police raided a dog-fighting pit in Ganghwa Island, off the north-west coast of South Korea right on the border with North Korea. We asked the police to take the two blood-covered dogs that were fighting as we arrived, Gumdoongii and Nurungii, but they refused, stating that current laws do not allow for confiscation of animals even after animal abuse, and as they saw no signs of gambling there was nothing they could do.
We persisted and finally got a promise from the owner to hand Gumdoongii and Nurungii over to us.
On June 1st, accompanied by three policemen and the fighting dog owner to confirm everything was done correctly (this was a very unusual case), we arrived at an area near the dog fighting pit in Gangwha-do to take possession of Gumdoongii and Nurungii. Gumdoongii was easy to recognize as he had obvious, but verifying Nurungii’s identity wasn’t so easy.
We initially trusted the assurances from both the police and the dog owner that the two dogs being surrendered to us were Gumdoogii and Nurungii. However, on closer examination and by referencing video footage taken at the time of the raid, we discovered that the proffered dog “Nurungii” was not the actual Nurungii that had been fighting the night before.
The owner had tried to hand over a substitute and was attempting to keep the real Nurungii.
We fiercely protested, and after more back-and-forth with the owner, he finally confessed that he had swapped Nurungii for a similar looking dog. It is safe to assume that he tried to keep Nurungii because he was a winner and profitable for wagering on in the fighting pits.
Dog fighting is a definitely a crime and we are appalled by the police’s lackadaisical attitude that led to the failure to confirm that the fighting dog owner was not being faithful with his promise to deliver the dogs mentioned above.
Currently, three rescued fighting dogs (including Gumdoongii and the real Nurungii) are being treated at an affiliated veterinarian. Gumdoongii had severe inflammation on his neck, ears, and tail from untreated fighting injuries and needed surgery to remove the infected areas. The two other dogs are also being treated for their injuries from the fighting pit.
Ongoing treatment of the three rescued dogs, especially as they are large dogs, is not cheap! If you could help in any way, please consider making a small donation to help cover their medical expenses and the process of nursing them back to health.