Prominent animal shelter operator quizzed by police over active euthanasia

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2019-03-14 10:51 Updated : 2019-03-14 10:51
글씨작게 글씨크게

[Yonhap Photo]

SEOUL -- A prominent animal shelter operator dubbed "the Queen of Rescue" in South Korea defended selective euthanasia for abandoned household pets with lethal drugs as an evitable choice to relieve the pain of emaciated animals.

"The euthanasia of some animals is inevitable," Park So-youn, president of the Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth (CARE), told reporters Thursday as she walked into a police station for questioning over revelations that she has collected donations from sponsors by covering up active euthanasia.

Along with fraud, embezzlement and the violation of an animal protection law, Park was accused of funneling cash donations into personal use. She allegedly has euthanized more than 200 homeless animals between 2015 and last year.

Park admitted to euthanizing animals in a "humanitarian and painless" manner. "Unavoidable euthanasia has been done selectively for animals that are sick and difficult to nurture," she said, insisting she has never used donations for personal purposes. Some animal rights groups have supported humanitarian euthanasia.

Park has been under fire since a former Care worker blew the whistle in December last year, accusing her of instructing her staff to euthanize animals. Some activists insisted healthy animals have been put down for being furious or failing to be adopted for a long time.

Park's work to rescue dogs from being slaughtered at dog farms have been highly publicized. In July 2018, she was thrown into the spotlight for using Tori, the adopted pet dog of President Moon Jae-in, in a high-profile event in central Seoul to accelerate the adoption of abandoned dogs and oppose the consumption of dog meat.

Tori, a black homeless mongrel dog who was kept at an animal shelter after being rescued from a dog meat farm, has been adopted by Moon, an animal lover, to live together at his residence. Tori has become the symbol of a social campaign to accelerate the adoption of abandoned dogs and cats.