South Korea’s ‘puppy mills’ churning out cuteness from conveyor belt of abuse, Latest World News - The New Paper

South Korea’s ‘puppy mills’ churning out cuteness from conveyor belt of abuse

They are South Korea’s “puppy mills” – horribly filthy and dingy shelters where tiny dogs are crammed in tiny cages and subjected to unimaginable abuse just so they can produce money-making offsprings.

Animal rights activists raided one of these illegal breeding facilities in Jinan-gun city, 195km south of Seoul, early in May, and what they found was “a living hell”, Ms Kim Hye-ran, a representative of the volunteer-run shelter The Better Tomorrow (TBT) Rescue, told The Korea Herald.

They found the remains of dogs inside a freezer, drugs and needles everywhere, and bichons frises and poodles inside rusted cages housed in a windowless, tent-like enclosure with rubbish and dirt everywhere.

Many of the dogs were in poor health, and had scars from surgery, likely without the use of anaesthetic.

“We had expected to find around 40 dogs, but… we rescued 131,” Ms Kim told The Herald,

She said TBT Rescue took in 21 dogs, many already pregnant, and that one had died.

The illegal breeding facility in Jinan-gun was not an isolated case, she said, but that it was impossible to ascertain exactly just how many there are.

On record, South Korea has some 2,000 registered breeding facilities producing over 460,000 dogs each year, according to the Korea Rural Economic Institute, a government-funded think-tank.

What is fuelling this industry is a preference among Koreans to buy pets from physical or online stores over adopting.

One in five Koreans get their pets from a store or buy online, while only 5.6 per cent opt to adopt from a shelter or a charity.

That lopsidedness is due to the long and complicated process of adopting rescue dogs.

“People don’t realise that the cute, fluffy dogs they see in pet stores are the products of a painful and cruel past,” Ms Kim told The Herald.

She said dogs that come out of “puppy mills” have likely been mistreated.

They are kept solely for the purpose of breeding. They are beaten and abused. They are seldom cleaned, and they live in cages strewn with their own waste.

If they can no longer breed or get sick, they are euthanised or thrown out into the streets and left to fend for themselves.

TBT Rescue has been campaigning to get more people to adopt rescue dogs and finding homes that can help nurse abused and abandoned dogs back to health before they are put up for adoption.

Funding has been a problem, though.

Ms Kim said rescuing a single dog can cost from 1 million won (S$1,024) to 10 million won.

“I understand that people want to raise dogs from when they are puppies, but I want to emphasise that age doesn’t matter. Any dog can become a beloved member of your family,” she said.

South Koreaanimal abuseANIMAL WELFARE