I did some reading last Friday as I assembled the piece, and came across this blog entry from a former teacher in Mokpo. An excerpt:
Veterinarians unfortunately aren't always a lot of help. We've met a few Koreans who feel that being a vet is a good job and choosing it as a career should have little to do with love of animals. Our vet speaks great English, but Shannon and I have decided he really doesn't care for any animals' well-being. He often neglects to find proper treatment for Miso, and when Shannon and I find what's needed, he mentions how he knew that already, doesn't bother to look at our dog for any illnesses, and carries on his way. That kitten I mentioned earlier that died, our vet looked at him - well he didn't actually look, he just glanced - and said the cat was fine. 3 days later a more accomplished vet said the cat should have been on an IV and had a heat pad the whole time, and it died shortly after.
. . .
A teacher in town was walking to school and noticed a pile of garbage bags had something scurrying through it, and decided it was probably rats. 2 days went by of this scuttling, yet she never actually saw a rat, just movement amongst the bags. Finally curiosity got the better of her, and after 5 days, she dug through the garbage and found a puppy tied to a pole at the bottom of it. It had been there at least the 5 days she had noticed it, but the rope it was on was so short it had been stuck under the garbage pile the whole time.
She took it to the vet who asked why she saved it, as obviously someone wanted to get rid of it. He was even more surprised when she wanted to clean it up, get it healthy and take care of it. There's a strong "why bother" mentality here, with very few opportunities for disadvantaged animals to survive.
At the end of the piece I mentioned Animal Rescue Korea and the Facebook group "I adopted a homeless animal in Korea and lived to tell the tale," so check those out if you're looking for more information about responsibly adopting a pet and eventually taking it home with you.