Ban Shooting of Stray Cats on Osan and Kunsan and Start TNR Programs
Ban Shooting of Stray Cats on Osan and Kunsan and Start TNR Programs
Why this petition matters
We need your help! Please sign this petition so that we can send it to Congress and the White House.
Last year, Pest Management in Osan and Kunsan Air Force Bases in S. Korea trapped stray cats on post and, if they did not have a U.S. microchip, they shot the cats with an air assault rifle. Prior to this, Osan’s Pest Control Management took the cats to the on-post veterinary clinic where personnel would euthanize all non-microchipped cats.* Both of these actions are illegal under the Korean Animal Protection Act and cruel. In the U.S., shooting cats is animal abuse and a crime.
Kunsan's Pest Management and leadership have not responded to the allegations. Osan’s Pest Management claims that they had the right to shoot cats because cats carry rabies; however, S. Korea is a country that actively works to eradicate rabies. There hasn’t been a rabies case since 2013 and there is no record of any of the euthanized or shot cats having rabies.
S. Korea takes a pro-life policy when it comes to stray cat management because the Korean government actually pays for a Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) program twice a year. Studies show that when TNR is implemented regularly for years, cat populations decrease substantially in a humane manner.
Thus, we are asking that:
- Osan’s and Kunsan’s leadership create a Feral Animal Risk Mitigation (FARM) plan per Armed Forces Pest Management Board (AFPMB) Technical Guide 3.1-3 and state in their Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) program guidelines and in their Pest Management Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) that they “will abide by host nation law and regulations” (as stated in AFPMB 3.1-3), thereby disallowing stray cats or any other animals to be shot or euthanized inappropriately. Allegations were made that birds in populated residential areas outside of the airfield area were also shot and deer were shot as well, and it may be necessary to specifically state in the regulations that the shooting of animals is not authorized in order to make sure that it never happens again.
Osan's leadership has stated that the shootings have stopped, but there is nothing in writing stopping them from starting up again in the future. Kunsan's leadership has not responded, so the shootings may still be happening. This is why updating regulations with the above language is so important.
- Osan and Kunsan leadership allow their pest management personnel to take cats off post for TNR and return them to post where they were initially trapped, as long as it is outside of the airfield area. Osan’s leadership does not want to allow the cats to return on post after TNR because they are worried about the safety of the airfield. We do not know of any reports of the feral cats causing any issues for pilots on the airfield, and the base spends millions of dollars on a BASH program to discourage pests, and therefore cats, from being on the airfield.
- Osan, Kunsan, and other S. Korean military bases that have feral cat issues start their own TNR program. Unfortunately, this may require money from Congress, but it is the only humane way to deal with the feral cat issue in the long-term. Other military bases, such as Camp Humphreys, have a feral cat problem, but there are no reports of their pest management personnel shooting the cats to deal with the problem. Moreover, other military bases have implemented a TNR program successfully, such as U.S. Army Garrison Italy Villaggio and U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan. They key is maintaining the TNR programs for multiple years so that many cats can be caught and neutered overtime.
- Osan’s and Kunsan’s leadership allow the military community on post to care for the neutered stray cats that are not near the airfield. Right now, the military community on post can only watch stray cats suffer or reproduce, and they are not allowed to feed, build shelters, or take the cats off post for TNR. They are not allowed to intervene with the feral cats, which is extremely hard to do when they see starving cats reproduce unabated, suffer injuries or sickness (like get hit by cars), and die. Multiple feed shelters have been destroyed by pest management and the community feels helpless. This is cruel.
The military community should be allowed to help the stray cats in areas that are outside the airfield. If the community is allowed to set-up feed areas for neutered stray cats that are not near the airfield, the stray cats will stay away from the airfield.
- An investigation be opened as to what happened on Osan and Kunsan with the feral cats and any other animals that were shot. We believe that Korean laws and SOFA rules were broken by allowing the military to shoot stray cats and birds that were captured/shot in areas that were not near the airfields on the military posts. An Inspector General (IG) complaint was filed in Sept. 29, 2021 on Osan, but the IG investigator determined that no laws or regulations were broken, even though the investigator did not consider Korean law and cited AFPMB guidelines in the complaint that Osan’s Pest Management had violated.
Furthermore, Osan’s Pest Management allowed open and baited cat traps to stay outside overnight and on weekends in the winter, in rain and snow, and in freezing cold temperatures. Osan's Pest Management continued to allow open and baited traps to stay outside overnight in freezing cold temperatures in the winter when leadership stated that the practice would stop.
- Osan and Kunsan’s leadership keep the public fully informed about how the stray cats are being managed. Currently, the public on both military bases is not being informed as to what pest management is doing with the stray cats that they capture. In fact, Osan’s Pest Management stated in a military community-attended pest management class that they were releasing the cats when an attendee asked about it, even though at the time they were actively shooting the cats to manage the population.
- Osan, Kunsan, and other S. Korean military bases prosecute members of the military under Article 134 for animal neglect/abandonment if they abandon an animal in S. Korea with a microchip registered to them.
Unfortunately, if Congress does not intervene, we are worried that the shootings will secretly continue as there is nothing formal in writing to stop Osan and Kunsan from continuing them. Military leadership have ignored the stray cats for many years, and now there are too many stray cats on the bases, as proven by the fact that multiple pest management personnel took it upon themselves to shoot the cats as a means of population control.
Osan's leadership has met with Pyeongtaek City Council for months to negotiate using the ROK TNR program, and an entire 3-month ROK TNR season has come and gone with no resolution. Osan does not want to allow the cats back on post after the TNR and Pyeongtaek City Council does not want to the cats to be dumped somewhere in Pyeongtaek after the TNR. We are worried that if Congress doesn't intervene in this matter that nothing will change and all of the stray cats will continue to be ignored or, worse, euthanized illegally, and it will be hidden from the military community.
It takes a massive amount of courage for us to speak out about this issue, because some people do not believe in the effectiveness of a long-term TNR program or believe that shooting the cats is the somehow the "humane" thing to do or are afraid of backlash/reprisal for speaking out, and we promise that this petition will make it to Congress and the White House.
We also encourage everyone to write to their representatives about this issue until something positive comes from it. We refuse to let the suffering and deaths of the stray cats, some of which were being cared for by the Korean community, mean nothing.
Lee, M. (2022, May 25). US Forces anger animal rights group for brutally executing stray cats with air gun. The Korea Times. Retrieved August 3, 2022, from
Park, H. (2022, May 24). Shooting of stray cats by US Troops causes controversy. The Korean Herald. Retrieved August 3, 2022, from https://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20220524000633
Park, H. (2022, May 31). Cats shot dead at US Air Base in Gunsan: Tipster. The Korean Herald. Retrieved August 3, 2022, from http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20220531000515
*Osan AFB and USAG Humphreys shares the same veterinary command for their veterinary clinic, which is an Army veterinary command. I am not sure if Kunsan AFB has the same command.
AR 40-905/AFI 48-13 provides regulations for Veterinary Health Services for the Army and Air Force. AR 40-905/AFI 48-13 3-1(a)(5) states, "The following categories of animals are DOD-owned: Stray animals on military installations (for the first 3 working days)." AR 40-905/AFI 48-13 further states, "Complete veterinary medical and surgical service is authorized for DOD-owned animals. DOD-owned animals will receive priority of care over Government-owned (non-DOD) animals, nonappropriated fund (NAF) animals, and privately owned animals. The veterinarian will designate an appropriate time for routine examination of these animals." Unfortunately, feral cats were shot and euthanized before they were held "3 working days," when they were actually entitled to the same care as other DOD-owned animals.