Gupo Market Dog Cruelty Case First Prison Sentence for Accessory to Violation of Animal Protection Act
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For the first time, a prison sentence was given for aiding and abetting in animal cruelty. On May 3rd, animal rights group Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth (CARE) stated, “The sentence in the dog cruelty case at the Busan Gupo Market is meaningful because it affirms that even without direct involvement in the cruel act, any enablement or neglect of such acts can be a violation of the Animal Protection Act.”
On April 24th, the western regional office of the Busan District Court handed down a ruling for the case, which happened last August at the Busan Gupo market. An employee of a health food (dog elixir) shop chased an escaped dog for several hundred meters before tying its feet to a metal snare and then dragging the dog along the sidewalk before slaughtering him.
The employee who abused the dog was sentenced to a fine of 1 million won (approximately $900 USD) for a violation of Article 8, Paragraph 2, Items 1 and 2 of the Animal Protection Act. The owner of the health food shop where the violator worked was sentenced to 6 months of imprisonment and 2 years of probation for violating the Livestock Products Sanitary Control Act and being an accessory to the violation of the Animal Protection Act.
The District Court stated, “Animals that can feel pain should not suffer” and the “action of the abuser who went against the national sentiment which seeks to respect the lives and bodies of animals, deserves condemnation.” However, in determining the sentence, the court took into consideration the perpetrator’s second-degree intellectual disability as well as his weak mind and body.
Because the health food shop owner provided the metal snare, he was penalized for aiding and abetting his employee’s violation of the Animal Protection Act. His actions helped inflict severe injuries to a living animal. This is the first animal abuse case in which a person was sentenced to imprisonment for being an accessory to the violation of the Animal Protection Act.
CARE stated, “We hope that this case will help to strengthen the punishment for animal cruelty in the future and to raise awareness that animal cruelty is a serious crime.”
In court, the health food shop owner stated that he “will never engage in the same business again.” Using this sentencing as a stepping stone, CARE plans to file complaints against similar health food shops as well as all dog meat businesses in the Gupo market. CARE has registered formal complaints against animal abuser in this case and has conducted a petition campaign calling for severe punishment.