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S.Korea activists urge rescue of dogs left on shelled island

by Staff Writers
Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea (AFP) Nov 29, 2010
South Korean animal activists are pushing for the rescue of hundreds of dogs left behind when their owners fled the island shelled by North Korea last week.

Jeon Gyeong-Ok, of the Korean Society for Animal Freedom, said 200 to 300 animals, mostly dogs, were roaming the island or were left chained up or caged and without human care, the Korea Times reported Monday.

Some 12,000 people signed an online petition urging the government to evacuate, feed and shelter animals that have been abandoned since the strike on the island of Yeonpyeong near the contested sea border.

North Korea's hail of shells and missiles killed two marines and two civilians and sparked an exodus of almost all of the island's 1,500 residents on ferries that were too crowded to transport the animals.

Protecting the animals that have been left behind "is the least we can do to minimize the emotional damage," the petitioners said.

The activist group Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth (CARE) had already sent some members to the island to evacuate animals, and several veterinarians were planning to travel there Monday, the report said.

Authorities on Sunday urged hundreds of journalists on the island to leave for their own safety, citing the risk of more strikes as a US-South Korean naval drill brought more threats from the North, but most have stayed.

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