(This is a shorter version of the CCTV footage where the worst violence is captured. Earlier footage shows the woman chasing and searching for the cat.)
On June 15, 2010, in Seocho-Dong, a cat died after being beaten and thrown from a high rise officetel window by a drunken woman, 25 year-old Chae You Jeong.
Part of the brutal beating was caught on CCTV. It showed the woman viciously hitting, throwing and stomping on a neighbor's cat.
The three year old cat name Eunbee had no idea what was happening and because of its calm nature failed to escape. The CCTV shows the woman activetly pursuing and hunting down the cat. Also, for some reason, she had taken the cat to the 1st floor and back up to the 10th floor.
After what appears on the CCTV, it is believed that the cat was trapped in the woman's apartment where it was further beaten before being thrown from the balcony.
What is also disturbing is that a witness has come forward and said that Eunbee was still alive after she had hit the ground. The witness said she was vomiting blood. This person did not help other than to move her off the road. When he returned from doing some business, he saw that the she was dead. He moved her to a flower bed.
Naturally, the cat's 29 year-old guardian, Jeong Joon Park was devastated when the truth was revealed. He woke up and discovered at 7 am on June 15 that Eunbee was missing. He got security to help him find out what happened, and that was when the shocking details of the woman's abuse came to light. He visited the woman's apartment and spoke to her male housemate. He said they found the cat but had let it go. The woman then cursed him for waking her up.
Jeong Joon Park then went to the police but they said they could not help with just the video footage. So Mr. Park posted fliers around his neighborhood asking if anyone had seen his cat. It was not until June 17 that the witness who had see Eunbee fall came forward. He was able to show where Eunbee had come from and landed, which was directly below the woman's apartment on the 10th floor. With a witness, Mr. Park was now able to get the police involved.
In an interview, Mr. Park said he had lost a member of his family. His opinion was that the woman was not human. He said that he had opened his officetel apartment door at around 11 pm, on June 14, for ventilation. He fell asleep because of the effects of medication he had taken after surgery. When he awoke, he saw that the door was open and got up and closed it, believing that Eunbee was still indoors.
The woman claims she was drunk and could not remember anything about the incident.
A vet from Hyon Jin Woo Animal Hospital took X-rays of the cat and saw that its jaw was broken and its lower back and back legs were broken. There were numerous contusions and trauma over its body, including a cracked skull that might have happened when it hit the ground. But the vet said much of the facial damage was done before Eunbee hit the ground.
The vet said Eunbee would have been in great pain before she had hit the ground.
Unfortunately, the maximum anyone can be fined for animal abuse in Korea is around five million won (approx. $5000 US). Reportedly, the woman was fined 200,000 won ($200 US). This disgraceful and shameful outcome is because animal abuse is not taken seriously enough in Korea.
This incident appears to have prompted lawmakers to quicken the process of proposing more bills to prevent animal abuse.
This case went to court, where the trail judge said it would not be treated lightly. The abusive woman, who is employed at a hostess bar, was also indicted for assaulting the cat's owner, who had refused to accept her apology.
We are glad to report that the cat killer was sentenced to 4 months in prison on September 4. Unfortunately, it was a 2 year suspended sentence, which means she will not actually do time in prison. The woman was regretful of her actions and had to pay Eunbee's guardian 1.5 million won (around $1,325 US) in compensation.
Publicity surrounding the case and pressure exerted upon authorities are likely to have helped. Other people have gotten away with a lot worse in the past.
However, it's clear that the judge was primarily applying the law as it relates to "property loss" and to a lessor extent animal welfare. In sentencing Chae, the court said she had “cruelly deprived an animal of its life and violated property rights, while inflicting enduring pain on the cat’s owner.”