Q: Is BAPS a government or private sanctuary?
A: BAPS is 100% private. We own it, run it, and maintain it. The Korean government does not run sanctuaries or shelters.
Q: How did BAPS start?
A: BAPS started in 2008, when 4 dog lovers took over 120 dogs that a hoarder abandoned. The hoarder had spent seven years collecting stray dogs, letting them breed, and going bankrupt. The 4 founders were part of a local animal rights group that from time to time had given assistance to the hoarder. One Tuesday in the fall of 2008 he contacted the organization, saying: I am bankrupt completely. I have to leave town Saturday, as loan sharks are out to get me. Please take over my dogs, or I’ll have to call the city government, and they will all be euthanized.
The organization decided not to help, and the 4 of us set out on our own to take over the responsibility of caring for the dogs. That Saturday we met with the hoarder, gave him the ten million won cash deposit he had made for the lease of the land on which the dogs lived, signed a new lease agreement with the land owner, and we became owners of 120 homeless dogs.
Since then we’ve worked hard to turn this project into a “real” animal shelter. We are still nowhere near where we'd like to be.
Q: Why don’t you ask for government money or help?
A: The city government supports private, for-profit dog pounds. However, they also impose conditions. Any pound that receives government money CANNOT refuse any dog that is sent there by the city or by citizens. While receiving dogs seems like a great thing (after all, who doesn’t want to save more dogs?), there is one trap to it: OVERPOPULATION.
The number one reason why private shelters fail, or allow themselves to fall into inhumane conditions, is over-population of dogs. Their space is reduced, there will not be enough to eat, disease spreads uncontrollably, and their quality of life becomes unbearable.
Responsible sheltering requires setting a maximum occupancy number, and staying with it. So…. and the next part is natural: What pounds in Korea do is euthanize dogs that have been at the shelter for ten days, once the legally-required holding time expires (a time when owner can search for their lost pet). Because we don’t want to run what is basically a kill factory, we refuse government money.
Q: So, do you euthanize dogs?
A: No. every single dog that enters BAPS is our “child”. We love every single one, and would never think of euthanising That is the reason why our names is SANCTUARY instead of SHELTER. We are a 100% no-kill shelter. The only time that dogs are euthanized is when they are suffering from a terminal illness, and are at the point of no return in suffering.
Q: I found a stray dog / have an unwanted dog…. will you pick it up and take it to your shelter?
A: We maintain our shelter at maximum capacity. Therefore, we do not take any new dogs. If a space becomes available, we usually take a new dog of similar weight. Please understand that this is to provide a better quality of life to the dogs we have.
We carefully select new intakes, based on health, adoptability, and age. The objective of BAPS is to save and re-home as many dogs as possible. For this reason we choose dogs that we hope are adoptable. For a dog to be accepted, a careful evaluation of temperament is also required.
We select new dogs from a pound we trust, where we can have some assurances of the animal’s health condition. In rare cases we have take animals that people have found off the street, but we require a full medical checkup and vaccinations at the expense of the finder before we intake the animals.
Q: Where does BAPS get its money?
A: Jin and Leo covered the majority of costs of running BAPS from the start. Around mid 2011 BAPS began getting enough donations that it was able to be self sufficient for the basic costs of rent, food, and monthly preventatives. However, we still cover a lot of ‘incidental expenses’, such as facilities supplies, all transportation of dogs, etc. BAPS still runs month-to-month budgets, with very little in cash reserves.
Q: How can I help?
A: Volunteering at the shelter is always appreciated. There is much more work to do than what we can manage, so many things go untended. We particularly appreciate people who can take dogs for walks, give haircuts, cut toenails, build or construct facilities, and give dogs care. If you wish to donate from your bank account either one time or monthly, you can talk to Jin about how to arrange that.
You can also bring dog treats and snacks, collars and leashes, and drinks/ snacks for volunteer days. Most dogs are available for fostering, so please ask about how you can have a canine companion during your time in Korea!
But the number one way to help is, of course, by donating money. It costs a lot to keep the shelter running.
Q: How many dogs has BAPS saved?
A: We average 50 adoptions per year, and have been running our adoptions program since the start of 2010.
Q: Why is Sunday the only day you have volunteers over?
A: BAPS does not have employees. The 3 of us who ‘run’ BAPS’ have our own full-time jobs, and can only go to BAPS in short periods, arranged around our work schedule. Sunday is the only day we can dedicate an entire day to having volunteers over.
Q: What are the future plans for BAPS?
A: Our dream is to someday be able to buy land for BAPS, and build our own facility, suited to our needs. We see a Sanctuary with full-time care employees, medical facilities, training and teaching facilities, and community outreach programs.
However, until someone donates several hundred thousand dollars, we will just work hard to keep saving one dog at a time, as we’ve been doing so far!