|Members of Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth (CARE) call for the resignation of their president, Park So-youn, for euthanizing more than 200 animals without the staff's consent, during a press conference at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul, Saturday./ Yonhap|
By Jung Hae-myoung
Kwon Yu-rim, a lawyer at Yuldam Law Office, said Sunday they will file a complaint with the police as early as this week.
The move follows a CARE staffer revealing that some 250 healthy animals the group had rescued have been put down upon Park's order between 2015 and 2018 without the knowledge of most of the other CARE members.
CARE is one of the nation's largest animal rights organizations, collecting about 1.5 billion won to 2 billion won of donations per year.
Kwon said Park could face criminal charges as she has continued doing so without informing staffers and donors.
"CARE has been raising funds under the name of rescuing and treating abused animals. It has never informed people of the euthanasia practice and many of the donors would not have contributed their money if they had known about that. In that sense, her action is fraud by nonfeasance," Kwon said. "As she has continued such acts, it is habitual fraud."
She also said Park could also be accused of animal abuse, as killing animals without justifiable reason can be defined as such according to the Animal Protection Law.
"Park can face charges of fraud and misappropriation of donations as she did not inform the staff members of the euthanasia and lied that some of the rescued animals were adopted to the U.S.," said Park Joo-yeon, the head of the People for Non-Human Rights.
The CARE whistleblower also said CARE President Park has been manipulating statistics by recording some euthanized animals as "adopted" since 2015. She also allegedly disguised euthanasia costs as medical treatment costs and kept it secret among executive members of the group.
A document of CARE disclosed by the whistleblower also showed Park bought a large amount of anesthetic drugs used for euthanasia before the "Namyangju Project," which was a plan to rescue 200 dogs from a dog farm in Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province, last July.
Park used to emphasize that CARE "does not euthanize animals only because they have no home."
"Euthanizing animals can happen in inevitable cases, under the consent of group staffers and with a vet's decision," one of the CARE staffers told The Korea Times. "However, Park tried to kill animals just because there was not enough shelter space for animals without telling us."
"Park is obsessed with rescuing animals, without considering the capability to protect them in the future," another whistleblower said.
For other animal rights groups, euthanasia is administered in extremely rare occasions, with two or three dogs per 200 in case of the Korean Animal Welfare Association and three in 600 animals at Beagle Rescue Network.
Park said on Monday she will hold a press conference soon, and said she has "no intention to resign."
In 2011, Park was indicted for sending rescued animals to a veterinary college for animal testing, violating the regulation that abandoned animals cannot become subjects of animal testing.