Advice /Assistance Needed: Neglected "Meat Dog" Suwon-Si

We see them everywhere. The poor “meat dog” chained up to a dog house and
left to the elements while being fed scraps and never receiving an ounce of
love. I have walked by too many of these pups. Watched them come and go,
giving treats, a pat and a few kind words, knowing that they will soon be
gone and replaced by another young chap. But, I just can’t take it anymore.
I understand the point of who is to determine what is an appropriate animal
to eat – cow, pig, squirrel, frog, dog, horse, etc., but I just can’t
stand watching these social, loving animals be treated so horribly day in and
out, just hoping for a kind “good boy” and knowing that two blocks down
there is a dog café with a couple dozen dogs playing and eating treats while
their owners nosh on bagels and sip coffee. It keeps me up at night and makes
me sick to my stomach.
On my new walking route, there is another “meat dog”, braving the cold,
tolerating the indifference. He is a sweet black mid-sized dog. I would say
part cocker spaniel if you look at his face. I am assuming that he is for
eating since he is left outside and his enclosure is LITTERED with old bones
and dog crap. He does have a bowl of dog food and is often the human’s food
waste plastic bag is outside for the dog to go through. There is a dog house,
but the little guy prefers to sleep in the middle of the pen on a chair
I did purchase him a water bowl and filled it and gave him a little stuffed
dog to play with. He ran around with that stuffed animal – loved it. The
day after leaving those items in the pen, the owner did sweep up all of the
bones and feces into a pile and actually emptied the food waste plastic bag
into the dog’s food bowl.
This fella has a great temperament and doesn’t bark. It just breaks my
heart to walk by again and not see if I can take him. I have thought about
offering to pay the man for the dog and then I realize, that he will most
likely only turn around with the money and purchase another. I have thought
about at night cutting the fence and stealing it, thinking the owner would be
less likely to keep purchasing a dog if he knows it is only going to be
taken. I guess the conclusion I have come to would be to see if there is
someone out there who would be willing to come and talk to the owner with me.
I don’t know Korean well enough to have the kind of conversation I would
need to have with him. I would like to know 1. If it is in fact a food dog.
Maybe it is supposed to be his guard dog -although that thought is a hoot
– 2. If it is a food dog, why is he eating it (cheap to get from a shelter
and he is very poor, wants the medicinal purposes, etc.) 3. Educate on
alternatives of dog meat and/or how to properly take care of a dog 4. Ask him
to give me the dog and find out if he will forgo dog in the future, or what
will entice him to forgo dog in the future 5. Offer to pay for the dog. I
would also like to know where he got this dog. I have a feeling it was a
stray or from a shelter. If it is a shelter, I would be interested in knowing
what shelter is adopting their pups out for soups. Could be a good possible
volunteer and education opportunity.
The fella and I live in Suwon. He is located near Hotel Castle (the major
Suwon stop for the airport busses). About 5-10 minute cab ride from the
station depending on traffic. I work until 4 Monday-Friday. I have this
Thursday off.

Any and all advice/assistance is very welcome!

THanks All!


Tags: advice, neglect, rescue, chained dogs


Karen's picture

Hi Hunt,

I'm not in Korea anymore, but in Daejeon where I used to live there were a lot of chained up dogs who were not "meat dogs". Their living situation similar to what you describe, but they remained in the same spot forever.

Some were meant to be guard dogs, and at least one I can remember was chained outside because the people who'd bought her originally gave her to their grandfather in the countryside when they couldn't keep her anymore… Anyway, I don't know that you can say for sure who is a "meat dog" without talking to the owners and asking why the dog is there. That said, it doesn't mean the neglect is OK…

It's wonderful that you've already stopped by to give the dog a toy and that has motivated the owners to clean up a little bit. I think that's the right way to go!!

Is it possible for you to drop by regularly to give the dog some attention and play time? That would give you more chance to meet the owner and talk to him, maybe he will even offer you the dog without you having to pay. That was my experience on more than one occasion, actually-- King's story is here (he was a guard dog).

Also, a list of tips on helping chained dogs and some Korean phrases to help are posted in the "Articles" section.

If you do find out for sure he is a "meat dog", I would contact KAPS in Daegu and ask if they have any educational literature in flyer form that you could share (I believe they have some Korean anti-dog meat flyers, though I'm not sure if they'd be appropriate for the situation).

KAPS may have Korean-language "how to care for your dog" type pamphlets as well, but you could also stop by a vet clinic for that. I'm not sure if they're still in use, but our vets always gave us a little print health booklet that had information about heartworm and other diseases, etc. etc. all in Korean.

If the owner is not in a position where they can afford vet care, then maybe you could ask permission to take the dog to the vet for a check up?

I guess the first step is meeting the owner, though. Have you made any progress on that?

Hunt's picture

Thank you so much for the poke in the right direction Karen. I am not too often by the puppy. He is near my boyfriend's house and he usually makes his way to my house. I will see if I can't give him a nudge to give the dog some food/treats when he is around him.

It is really frustrating to have the language barrier. I did see and print off the phrases, have not had the opportunity to use them. I quickly checked the KAPS site for brochures, but will look better at the end of the day. I love the idea, of gifting the dog items. I don't know for sure if he is a meat dog, but so far I have seen 2 places (1 house & 1 restaurant) where they have had 3 & 2 dogs respectively and they only last for a few months before they miraculously disappear. One of the dogs I tried to make friends with through the fence a couple of times and then the next time the owner had him on a SHORT chain by the house so he could only make it in the dog house comfortably and couldn't come to the fence.

It's good and really appreciated to hear how others reacted to similar situations. It is good to hear that, I don't have to stress over the end result when questioning whether or not to "help" an animal. The second I see one here that is being neglected, I start to question whether I should just walk by because I fear, with my luck, the end result would be a dog that has a huge medical bill, would tear up my apartment and would fight with my dog and who, I would never be able to find a home for. Then, I would turn around only to find that the original owner had only gone and replaced the dog.

So, for now. I gift and love and if the owner makes an appearance, I will ogle over the dog. :)

Karen's picture

I understand your feelings. There are so many chained up dogs sometimes it seems impossible to help. In King's situation I mentioned above, yeah he was replaced by a less friendly guard dog almost right away and that did kind of crush me. On the other hand, I was really happy for him at least, to not have to live on that chain any longer. And in three other cases, the dog was not replaced (that I know of). But there were so many that I wasn't able to help...

So yeah, I would start by you or your boyfriend visiting when you can and seeing where it goes from there. The phrases might help, but just gesturing can work, too :)

Oh, and the KAPS page I linked to above is the organization's profile on ARK-- there you can find contact info for KAPS volunteers and a link to the main site, but not the brochures I meant. They'd be somewhere on the main site or maybe printouts that the volunteers know about on site but not on the web, I'm not sure.

Good luck! Let us know how it goes :)

MichelleBrook's picture

Hi Guillian! Here is a video about chained up dogs in korea if you haven't seen it. Also, I am currently in a similar situation with a nearby dog. He is SKINNY. SO skinny. I go by and bring him a meal and water, and since i started he now often has water. Phew! I don't know what will happen when the owners come out and talk to me; i will just say "good dog" i think and smile a lot and hope for the best. best of luck!

dsl134's picture

Most of the time when the dogs are chained up outside, they are meant to be guard dogs or at least scare away any potential thiefs or unwanted guests.

Meat dogs are usually placed in cages and fed well... for obvious reasons.

Dogs chained up in Korea are the there for the same reasons you see dogs chained up in many parts of the U.S., Australia and Eastern Europe. Some people/families believe animal's living quarters should be kept separate from human's living quarters. In fact, I still remember driving through North Dakota and seeing about 12 (maybe 13) dogs chained up to their own cages walking around their own feces and skinny to the bones. Later I found out the place was a dog shelter (ASPCA I believe)... which was a huge shock and dissapointment to me.

The worst site I've seen so far was in Busan in the southern part of Korea. Three dogs tied together eating one of their own, which I think probably died of hunger.

The best thing for you to do is to show the owner of that dog, or whatever dog or animal you see being treated poorly, that you care how they are treated. Most likely the dog is meant to be a guard dog, which is why he is barely being fed (hunger makes them more sensitive).

adoptbullies's picture

Hunt if you can give me your email address I can connect you with a Korean English speaking volunteer at KAPS. Her English is really limited, but she would be able to tell you what Korean material would be available and mail you some. ^^

dbis's picture

Hi Guillian and everyone,

I've found myself in the same predicament today. There's a 6 month old Korean yellow dog female pup currently tied up of the front of a secondhand whitegoods shop down the road from my house. I struck up a conversation with the adult grandson of the owner who informed me she will be eaten, most likely over summer for boknal. He even went on to mention that they don't want to make friends with her precisely because they have plans to eat her ( the farmer/livestock syndrome) She seems like she's generally ok, but so shy and lonely. I gave her a few treats and she gained some more trust and wagged her tail in delight. I have plans to see her often and offer to take her for walks. I exchanged phone numbers with the grandson to keep things friendly but I want to get this pup out of there! I'm just worried they will go on and replace her...As much as I wanted to run away there and then with her I thought perhaps contacting one of the korean animal orgs to either report him and/or rescue her would be better, since they might have more clout and could make a statement to say that is not on rather than some animal loving foreigner brazenly stealing her or offering to buy her rescue. Any thoughts???