Every year, more than 57% of the dogs at Asan City Animal Shelter (ACAS) are euthanized. That’s because ACAS is the only city-run municipal shelter in its area. South Korean city-run shelters are legally required to euthanize homeless animals that do not get adopted within ten days. If the shelter doesn’t comply, they lose any meager funding received from the city government. And, like most underfunded public shelters across the world, ACAS opens its doors to more dogs than they can support and adopt out.
But that’s starting to change, thanks to thoughtful adopters like you.
As many of you know, we at Korean K9 Rescue work with reputable rescue groups across South Korea to save dogs from the meat trade and other inhumane conditions. One of the groups that we partner closely with is Band for Animal, which is made up of ACAS volunteers.
Since last June, a total of 250 dogs from ACAS have been successfully adopted through Korean K9 Rescue.
Our partnership has also led to a milestone that was previously unthinkable for this once high-kill shelter: No dogs have been euthanized at ACAS for the past five months.
And this is just the beginning! We’re excited to keep contributing to this humane track record—especially in a country where animal welfare laws are abysmal, and only 5.2% of animals get adopted out from shelters, according to a report by the Korea Consumer Agency.
The reason why we support the trailblazing volunteers at ACAS is because they, like us, are passionate about rescuing dogs, building more humane shelters, and raising awareness about pet adoption in their home country and abroad.
And they clearly walk the talk. Jiyoung Kang and Hyunyoo Kim, long-time volunteers at the shelter, has worked tirelessly to reveal the corruption that was happening at ACAS in order to bring reform.
In 2012, Kang and Kim reported how most dogs at the shelter were starving or being fed food waste, which is also common in the country’s unregulated dog meat farms. Bodies of euthanized animals were also left outside in plain sight. From 2015 to 2016, they helped a journalist expose how some of the Jindo breed dogs at the shelter were sent to dog meat farm owners.
For starters, the shelter has agreed to provide better veterinary support, give volunteers more autonomy, and microchip all dogs to ensure their safety. Kang and Kim is also urging the city government to financially support medical treatments (currently all paid for by volunteers/supporters) and to build a bigger shelter with proper facilities like heating/AC, a grooming/washroom, and an agility-based playground.
The shelter reform happening at Asan City Animal Shelter signals great progress. Korean K9 Rescue stands with volunteers like Kang and Kim, and will continue to advocate for more humane shelters in South Korea.
Together, we can ignite and spread the No-Kill Movement with a single shelter, and a single powerful act of adoption. Through education and awareness, we will make a difference!
How you can help: Spread #AdoptDontShop #NoKillKorea
Please consider adopting or fostering a dog from Korean K9 Rescue. It’s a powerful act of compassion that inspires others to save a life at a shelter. Thank you for your support.
Written by Jenny Lee. Special thanks to Jiyoung Kang, the head volunteer at Asan City Animal Shelter (천안아산동물보호연대) and manager at Band for Animal, for helping us write this article. All photos belong to Band for Animal.