Between March and July 2022, a PETA Asia investigator visited four puppy mills in South Korea in which frightened dogs frantically paced back and forth in cramped, filthy cages amidst the constant deafening sound of barking. The puppy mill owners, who have government connections, rake in hundreds of millions of South Korean won annually.
One owner divulged that he breeds animals both for the “pet” trade and for dogfighting. When dogs can no longer fight, they’re sold for meat and then killed. Another breeder removed dogs’ vocal cords and implied that he had accidentally killed a dog by administering an erroneous injection.
Filthy, Inadequate, Hazardous Housing
The frightened dogs are held in perilously dilapidated cages and kennels encrusted with faeces. Even some of the small dogs can barely turn around. Many cages are rusty, which could expose the dogs to tetanus.
Forced to stand on wire flooring that could seriously injure their paws, the dogs are deprived of proper rest. Small dogs can be trapped or severely injured if their legs fall through the wire mesh, and the constant need to tread carefully is psychologically and physically exhausting. There is no comfort at all – no bedding, no toys – let alone love, companionship, exercise, or protection from the cold.
With piles of faeces decomposing underneath them and ammonia fumes polluting the air, dogs in these four puppy mills are at constant risk of infectious and parasitic diseases. Water and food bowls are dirty, and the fumes from the waste are so irritating that they can damage the dogs’ skin, eyes, and respiratory tracts. These facilities are so unsanitary that new-born puppies in them can die quickly from bacterial and viral diseases. They also pose a threat to public health, as many forms of bacteria and parasites that are transmissible among dogs can also spread to humans.
Dogs Suffering From Painful Skin Lesions and Chronic Stress
Video footage shows dogs languishing with large, open, inflamed lesions, likely resulting from infections, trauma, allergies, or pressure sores caused by improper flooring. Many dogs suffer from persistent skin infections, which lead to relentless itching, swelling, scabbing, pain, and weakness. If left untreated, these agonising skin conditions can turn into serious medical problems.
Out of frustration and anxiety, the dogs constantly jump up and down, pace back and forth, and bark, and the sound is so loud that it can actually cause pain and hearing loss. But when someone approaches, they cower and freeze – they are that terrified of humans.
Mothers and Puppies Separated Too Early
Puppies younger than 6 weeks old are torn away from their mothers, which is far too early. This can lead to a greater risk of illness, future social and behavioural problems like biting, a compromised immune system, and psychological distress and anxiety for both the puppies and their mothers. The puppies are still learning critical skills from their mothers at that age, and they may not be ready to be weaned – certainly not abruptly – from their mothers’ nourishment, which is important to their health and well-being.
Claims of Animal Welfare Certifications Are Meaningless
The owner of the puppy mill boasted that his business is the only one in South Korea that maintains high standards of animal welfare. He claimed that he has been praised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs as an exemplary breeder. Clearly, this praise was unwarranted.
PETA Asia filed complaints with the ministry, urging it to investigate the mills for possible violations of the Animal Protection Act but received no reply. The group also filed complaints with four police stations, each corresponding with a puppy mill location. Only one station actually visited a mill – and still failed to press charges. Following the passing of the revised Animal Protection Act on 27 April 2023, the group is once again calling on officials to take immediate action to shut down these warehouses of suffering.
Pledge Only to Adopt – Never Buy – Dogs and Other Animal Companions
Selectively breeding dogs for physical traits leads to painful genetic problems and results in the deaths of dogs in crowded shelters. It is always harmful, no matter where in the world it occurs.
Adopting from an animal shelter helps dogs who are desperate for a home instead of enriching greedy breeders who produce puppies for a profit.