Gaon Animal Shelter
Gaon Animal Shelter’s Founder, Cho Jinyong, is a classic case of ‘who rescued who?’ Jinyong (50) is an Elementary school teacher and private music teacher and has been for all of her adult life. About 10 years ago she was struggling with severe depression and all of the accompanying personal issues. In an attempt to help, the Reverend of Jinyong’s church gave her a puppy as a gift. In learning to raise and care for this puppy she was also able to work through her depression and find a focus. She became an animal activist strongly opposing the consumption of dog and cat meat and any kind of cruelty towards animals. She now incorporates animal kindness and compassion into her classroom lessons.
Gaon Animal Rescue center was established in 2016 with Jinyong as the Founder and Suh Sun-Il as the Director. Initially their focus was on protesting dog and cat meat consumption and closing down dog meat farms. They accomplished this using existing livestock health and sanitation laws. Most dog farms are built illegally, without permits, and do not operate within required health and sanitation codes. They successfully shut down a number of farms this way.
Later, they added campaigning for stronger animal protection laws and stray animal care/TNR projects to their list of operations, including the rescue of Donguri the cat and Chosun the dog (whose stories are featured below). They also created 14 separate feeding stations for feral cat colonies and stray animals. In partnership with the Reverend who gifted Jinyong her first puppy, they created a space where the elderly, the homeless, lonely people, and children can all rest, share a meal, and learn about animal care.
Gaon rescued a number of large dogs (as well as smaller dogs and cats) from horrible conditions and worked with Rebel Rescue South Korea to facilitate adoptions out of the country for some of the larger dogs. Gaon is in the process of building a new shelter in Yangpyung-gun, Gyeonggi-do about 30 miles east of Seoul after noise complaints from their neighbors. This new location (pictured, under construction) will allow them to better house larger rescues and avoid noise complaints. I strongly believe in Gaon and Cho Jinyong, their purpose, and the work they do – and plan to continue supporting them.