Help for pets left behind on shelled Korean isle

Wed Dec 1, 2010 11:13pm EST
 
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SEOUL (Reuters Life!) - Hungry dogs and cats roaming the streets of the remote South Korean island shelled by North Korea last week, some of them injured, are being fed and tended to by animal welfare groups.

North Korea fired dozens of artillery shells on Yeonpyeong island on November 23, killing two soldiers and two civilians and setting houses ablaze.

Most of the 1,600 residents of mountainous Yeonpyeong have fled, leaving their pets behind, but animal welfare groups have taken them food and administered first aid.

"We helped dogs with serious cuts from shell splinters," Park So-yeon, a member of Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth (CARE), told broadcaster YTN Tuesday.

"We also saved dogs with broken legs and little dogs attacked by other stray dogs."

Television footage showed a dog snapping eagerly at food on a street scattered with shattered glass and lined with damaged buildings. Others ate from bowls set inside doghouses.

Island residents said there were an estimated 200 dogs and cats on the island. Animal welfare workers said they had helped about 50 dogs and 10 cats so far.

"If you abandon dogs, and they produce puppies without peoples' care, they will become wild dogs. Then you will have to cope with a social problem with many stray dogs all around Yeonpyeong," said Jo Hee-kyong, head of the Korean Society for Animal Freedom.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula are at their highest levels in recent years since the attack, one of the heaviest in the region since the Korean War ended in 1953 in a truce without a peace treaty.

(Writing by Ki-soo Hong; editing by Elaine Lies)

 
<p>Animal rights activist Park So-youn holds stray dogs rescued from a village damaged by North Korean artillery shelling, as South Korean marines stand nearby, on Yeonpyeong Island November 29, 2010. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak labelled North Korea's artillery attack on a southern island a crime against humanity and said Pyongyang will pay the price for any further provocation. North Korea fired shells at the island off the peninsula's west coast on Tuesday, killing two civilians and two soldiers and destroying dozens of houses. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak</p>