Animal shelters suspected of falsifying records on euthanized strays in Busan

Cats are seen in a Busan animal shelter. The Beagle Rescue Network says that for nearly 10 years, animal protection groups and individual activists have raised suspicions about the  possibility of shelters selling dogs carcasses to meat vendors. Courtesy of Beagle Rescue Network

Busan’s contracted animal shelters are suspected of having euthanized animals and falsifying documents to make it appear as though they had died of natural causes, according to the animal protection group Beagle Rescue Network.The group reported on Tuesday that during a nationwide investigation of stray animal conditions, it detected suspicious records in Busan’s handling of stray animals. In cooperation with the Busan city government, the group conducted an investigation on shelters operated by contractors in the city’s Gangseo, Saha, Dong and Yeongdo districts.The southeastern city of Busan, which sees around 6,000 stray animals annually, has one of the highest rates of natural deaths in shelters — 59.6 percent last year, compared to the national average of 27 percent.In contrast, the euthanasia rate was reported at only 2.7 percent. In 2022, the natural death rate was 61.2 percent, while the euthanasia rate was 3.1 percent. The city contracts six companies to manage stray animal shelters across its 16 districts.The animal protection group suspects that the shelters inflated the natural death rates because having lower euthanasia rates is advantageous when renewing contracts with district offices.Additionally, performing euthanasia with a veterinarian incurs significant costs. The group also discovered that, based on individual management cards, the weight of 794 animal carcasses that should have been disposed of last year totaled 5.5 tons.

However, the amount actually processed by waste disposal companies was only 0.47 tons, leaving over 5 tons of carcasses unaccounted for. The shelter operators failed to provide an explanation for this discrepancy in meetings with city officials, animal groups and contractors.The organization suspects the carcasses might have ended up going to dog meat farms. “The shelter operators have not provided a proper explanation,” said an official from the group. “Sending dogs to meat vendors not only reduces disposal costs significantly but also brings in profit.”Yoo Young-jae, an executive of the Beagle Rescue Network, criticized local authorities for their inaction. “For nearly a decade, animal protection groups and activists have raised suspicions about the high natural death rates and the possibility of dogs being sold for meat, but the district offices have not conducted proper inspections or investigations,” he said.The group is considering filing criminal charges against the shelter operators for obstruction of official duties, document forgery and violation of animal protection-related laws.Kim Se-hyun, head of the Beagle Rescue Network, said, “This case, along with others, shows that contracted management is unsuitable for operating animal shelters. District offices should terminate these contracts immediately and switch to direct management of 온라인카지노 shelters.”

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