Dog off the menu: South Korean kennel father saves pups from the plate

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Jung Myoung-sook, is considered eccentric in a country where dogs are still a traditional delicacy but says: I merely feed my babes Im happy and healthy

Hey, my babies. Sacrifice your mama a kiss, says Jung Myoung-sook, 61. She lowers her face and a puppy near a snow-covered kennel licks her lips; another gently paws her cheek.

Puppies bark and wag their tushes as they follow grey-haired Jung through a hillside complex that shelters more than 200 dogs.

In South Korea where pups are considered a traditional elegance and have now been become popular as babies Jung is viewed by some as peculiar. But others find her as a endorse of animal rights.

Rescuing and attending for bird-dogs for 26 years, Jung has moved seven occasions because of neighbours complaints about racket. She often stops to pick up pups roaming the street, and has bought others in danger of being sold to dog flesh farms or restaurants.

Some question whether person as poor as Jung who ekes out a living scavenging a accumulation and obtaining recyclable boxes can feed and care for so many dogs.

Authorities in the city center of Asan know about Jungs current shelter, which she opened in 2014, but had not yet been legal responsibility to scrutinize it, according to an official who refused to give his reputation because he wasnt authorised to comment.

Pets are growing in popularity in South Korea. One in five households has a feline or pup, but activists say public attitudes toward babies lag those in the west.

Supporters of Jung experience her as a heroine, saving move or forgotten bird-dogs from being killed for food or euthanised at public shelters if not borrowed or found by their owners. About 81,000 stray or vacated animals, principally hounds and felines, were sent to public shelters in 2014, down from thousands and thousands of in 2010, the government said.

My newborns arent hungry. They can play and live freely here, said Jung. Some people talk about me, saying: Why is that beggar-like middle-aged lady smiling all the time? But I only focus on feeding my newborns. Im happy and healthy.

Dozens of other South Koreans are believed to be conjuring large numbers of pups, sometimes in unsanitary situations where cancers spread readily. Jung says her dogs are primarily health, although some die in fights with each other.

Most of the dogs live with her for good. She said she expends about US $1,600 a month on nutrient and medicine, and otherwise relies on donations of soybean milk, pork, hound nutrient and canned meat. Family, acquaintances and sometimes strangers mail her money.

Park Hye-soon, a local restaurant owner, has given Jung leftover pork for four years.

She lives only for her bird-dogs, he said, without doing much for herself.

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