A South Korean woman has rescued more than 200 puppies that were allegedly sold to a restaurant for food.
‘Hello my children. Give a kiss to your mother’, says Jung Myoung Sook, 61. She lowers her face and a puppy near a snowy kennel licks its lips; another gently caresses her cheek.
In South Korea, where dogs are considered a traditional delicacy and have only recently become popular as pets, Jung’s love for his canine friends is viewed by some as strange. But others see her as an animal rights advocate.
Dog rescue and care for 26 years, Jung moved seven times due to complaints from neighbors. He often stops to pick up the dogs that roam the streets and he bought more, risking being sold to dog meat farms or restaurants.
Some wonder if someone as poor as Jung, who cleans a shop and collects recyclable boxes for a living, could feed and care for so many dogs. While Jung’s dogs appeared healthy and well-nourished during a recent visit by the Associated Press, their condition couldn’t be independently confirmed.
Authorities in the central city of Asan know of Jung’s current shelter, which opened in 2014, but have no legal responsibility to inspect it, according to an official who declined to give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the media about the refuge. deal.
Pets are growing in popularity here, where one in five households own a cat or dog, but activists say public attitudes towards pets are lower than in the West.
Jung’s supporters see her as a hero, saving homeless or stray dogs from being killed for food. or euthanized in public shelters if their owners don’t adopt them or can’t find them. Some 81,000 stray or abandoned animals, mostly cats and dogs, were sent to public shelters in 2014, up from 100,000 in 2010, the government said.
My kids aren’t hungry. They can play and live freely here,’ said Jung, whose clothes are frayed and his hair disheveled. “Some people talk about me and say, ‘Why is that middle-aged woman who looks like a beggar always smiling?’ But I focus only on feeding my children.” I am happy and healthy.
Dozens of other South Koreans are believed to be raising large numbers of dogs, sometimes in unsanitary conditions where disease spreads easily. Jung says his dogs are mostly healthy, though some are killed in fights with each other.
Most dogs live with her forever. She said she spends about $1,600 a month on food and medicine, relying on donated soy milk, pork, dog food and canned meat. Family, friends, and sometimes strangers send you money.
Park Hye-soon, a local restaurant owner, gave Jung leftover pork for four years.
“She lives only for her dogs,” she said, “she doesn’t do much for herself.”
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.