The police are after suspects who absconded with money they collected from operating a temporary animal shelter in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province, leaving several animals abandoned, abused and even dead.
Arrest warrants have been issued for three suspects on the run for violating animal protection law. They face charges of allegedly receiving about 1 million won ($765) per animal "to take care of them" and then vanishing, neglecting or abusing the dogs and cats, said police on Tuesday. The total amount of money they swindled is expected to amount to more than tens of millions of won.
About 50 cats and dogs were found unattended at the site. The inside of the pet shop was covered with excrement while the animals had no water or food, according to local media. CCTV footage showed animals biting each other, without anyone there to stop them.
The so-called pet shop had taken in animals that owners gave up or were rescued from the streets. They are also reported to have arranged adoptions.
Animals were also found dead on the grounds of a vacant lot near the pet shop. The dead bodies showed apparent signs of human abuse, with some animals found bruised and others having blood in their mouth.
The suspects are accused of forging pictures of dead animals to look alive and charging owners for the expense of taking care of them.
Meanwhile one of the accused has been on the wanted list since 2019 on a fraud charge. The police are searching for the three people who've been on the run for a month.