?>
The Leniency of Punishment for Animal Abuse: Please Save Us from Abuses
상태바
The Leniency of Punishment for Animal Abuse: Please Save Us from Abuses
  • Lee Chae-won
  • 승인 2022.06.23 17:04
  • 댓글 0
이 기사를 공유합니다

※Warning※
This article contains materials that some may find offensive or disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.

 

▲ 500,000 people signed the petition titled “Please Punish the Dongtan Street Cat Abuser” just four days after the petition drive started. (source= president.go.kr)
▲ 500,000 people signed the petition titled “Please Punish the Dongtan Street Cat Abuser” just four days after the petition drive started. (source= president.go.kr)

 On April 18, a petition posted on the Blue House petition website dealt with a case of animal abuse. The case is called “Animal version Nth Room Case”. The Nth room case in 2019 is a digital sexual crime case that the public may never forget. The petition demanded that the abuser who brutally killed at least 50 cats and posted it on social media be sentenced to the severest possible penalty. However, the maximum penalty stated in the Animal Protection Act is just three years in jail and a 30 million won fine. The public who heard of the animal killings and the lenient punishment for the crime through the petition was angry and began to insist that the punishment for animal abuse has to be strengthened.

 

Animal version Nth Room Case

▲ The photos of the cats injured in the case of the animal version Nth Room case (source=nocutnews.co.kr)
▲ The photos of the cats injured in the case of the animal version Nth Room case (source=nocutnews.co.kr)

 

▲ The animal abuser shared a picture of abused cats in the Telegram chat room. (source=nocutnews.co.kr)
▲ The animal abuser shared a picture of abused cats in the Telegram chat room. (source=nocutnews.co.kr)

 Last year, the videos of abusing and bothering cats had already spread through the open chat room of Kakao Talk. Eventually, the accident seemed to have ended when the abuser was arrested and handed over to stand trial. However, similar abuse videos were then released, again in a Telegram chat room. The other abuser gave the animal an electric shock after putting a plastic bottle on the cat’s head and shared a photo of the dead cat’s body in the chat room, leaving a message, "The cats almost seems to be beaten to death (because I beat) them when they come to my home." The person who informed the police of the chat room and video said in an interview with CBS News, “I still cannot forget many cats were crying in pain and bleeding because their eyes burst.” 

 

The current status of Animal abuse in Korea
 This is not the first time that animal abuse has happened. One of the animal abuses that recently shocked the public was the incident of dog abuse that happened in Jeju City on April 19. Police launched an investigation after a dog buried alive was found near Dogeuncheon Stream in Jeju City. Stones had been placed above where the dog was buried to prevent it from escaping by digging through the soil. 

▲ The graph partially extracted from Status of Violations of the Animal Protection Act over the past 11 years (source=police.go.kr)
▲ The graph partially extracted from Status of Violations of the Animal Protection Act over the past 11 years (source=police.go.kr)

 Animal abuse cases are steadily on the rise every year. According to a report released by the National Police Agency, 1,014 offenders violated the Animal Protection Act in 2020, up 5.4% from 962 arrested in the previous year. Compared to 2010, when 78 offenders violated the Animal Protection Act, the figure has soared 1,200% in 10 years. However, the level of punishment still remains low compared to the increasing number of animal abuse cases. Only five of the 4,358 animal protection law offenders prosecuted for 10 years were actually placed under arrest. Meanwhile, the report revealed the other abusers were simply fined because the animals abused were strays, and the average amount of the fines was about 1.5 million won.

 
 According to the Animal welfare organizations, it is urgent to establish clear laws and systems for animal abuse. Chae Il-teak, head of the policy team of the Korean Animal Welfare Association (KAWA), said, "Although the cruelty of animal abuse is gradually becoming more serious, there are no proper *sentencing guidelines currently for animal abuse, so only light penalties are being imposed." The process of sentencing for other types of abuse such as child abuse follows standard sentencing guidelines. However, since no clear sentencing guidelines have been established for animal abuse as of now, even if the law is revised in the direction of strengthening punishment, the abusers are often given lighter sentences. Due to this sentencing trend, repeat offenders continue to torture, kill, and abuse cats and dogs. 

 

*Sentencing guideline: a set of standards that are generally put in place to establish rational and consistent sentencing practices.


The level of punishment for animal abuse in other countries
 The level of punishment in Korea is currently three years in jail and a 30 million won fine. However, there are many opinions that even this level of punishment is too light, compared to levels of punishment overseas. In the UK, which introduced the world’s first animal protection law, penalties include depriving abusers of any ownership of animals. When an abuser hit a dog with an iron rod in 2019, the British court sentenced the criminal to 18 weeks in prison and permanently banned the abuser from ever owning animals. Similarly, a staff of a high school in Asan, South Chungcheong Province in Korea, abused a cat with an iron pipe in 2019, but the abuser was fined only 1 million won. The forms of abuse in the two countries were similar, but the level of punishment was significantly different.

 

 In addition, the US is already sentencing animal abusers up to 10 years in prison as the maximum sentence, Canada up to five years, and Finland up to four years in prison. In particular, some U.S. states such as Tennessee and Kansas and Taiwan have policies that disclose the abuser’s identity to the public, not just imprisonment. Gong Jung-sik, a professor of forensic psychology at the Kyonggi University, said, “Animal abuse is regarded as a precursor to violent crime in that it lacks respect for life,” and “Because animal abuse is likely to occur as a serious crime, recidivists need their identities disclosed.” The level of punishment in Korea is clearly lower than in other countries. Now, it is time to impose stronger punishment for animal abuse like in other countries.
 
The views of the public about animal abuse
 In regards to punishment regulations for animal abuse in Korea, Animal Welfare Awareness, the Research and Education (AWARE), asked 2,000 people about their thoughts on the level of punishment for animal abuse. Of those responding, 96.8% said that the punishment for animal abuse has to be strengthened, 97.3% said animal abusers have to be deprived of their possession of the animals, and 98.3% said that abusers have to be banned to raise other animals for a certain period. According to this survey, it is proved that the awareness of animal protection has shown to be high among the public.

 

 Also, the degree of concern about animal abuse has gotten higher, as it has recently become more serious. It is because the damage inflicted on the animals due to the abuse can return to humans. According to the past studies about abuses released by Clifton P. Flynn, a professor at the University of South Carolina Upstate, people who have abused animals exhibit more antisocial behaviors. Also, prisoners guilty of committing violent crimes were more likely to have committed animal abuse than other prisoners. In response, Pyo Chang-won, a professor at Korea National Police University, explained, “The criminals are high-aggressive, but they could not express it to people. So, they tended to choose animals as the object of violence at first, and eventually passed it to people because they are not satisfied with it.”
 
 This animal abuse causes bigger problems when the videos or photos of animal abuse are distributed over the Internet. Lee Soo-jung, a professor of forensic psychology at the Kyonggi University, pointed out that if the many videos are spread through the Internet, even those who did not have the will to abuse the animals could also vent their anger on the animals. In particular, posting photos of abuse can have a bad effect on the weakening of the respectful recognition of life among adolescents with incomplete personalities. Eventually, disregarding the seriousness of crimes against animals can lead to increased levels of violence in society. Hence, this Animal version Nth Room Case should not receive a impose light punishment.

▲ (source=cuteness.com)
▲ (source=cuteness.com)

"All the creatures want to live whether it is big or small."
- From Dongkukyisangkukjib (동국이상국집, 東國李相國集), a book by Lee Gyu-bo (1168-1241)

 As the number of people raising pets is gradually increasing, the voices for animal protection are growing. Even though numerous animal abuse cases occur, the penalty for these crimes remains weak. The continuous disregard for the seriousness of animal abuse will never have good effects on humans, too. However, more importantly, and essentially, global citizens do not have to forget that the earth is not only a place where “humans” live, but where all creatures that strive to live, do so together.



댓글삭제
삭제한 댓글은 다시 복구할 수 없습니다.
그래도 삭제하시겠습니까?
댓글 0
댓글쓰기
계정을 선택하시면 로그인·계정인증을 통해
댓글을 남기실 수 있습니다.