S. Korean government to charge for lost pets

January 15, 2015
A pug dog rests under the shade of her owner's bench. (AP)

A pug dog rests under the shade of her owner’s bench. (AP)

By Jung Min-ho

Owners will have to pay for the return of their missing pets at animal rescue centers across Seoul.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) said Thursday that it plans to revise animal ordinances to require pet owners to pay for the service as early as March. The new regulation will also make it mandatory to report missing pets.

The city government has not yet decided how much to charge for the service.

But the SMG said it is deciding between charging pet owners 50,000 won ($46) regardless of the amount of time pets stay at the centers, and charging them a flat rate combined with a fee for each day at those facilities. Under Korean animal law, pets can stay at the centers for a maximum of 10 days.

With the change, those who fail to report their missing pets could face a fine of 300,000 won for the first time, 500,000 won for the second time and 1 million won for each instance after that.

Currently, only missing dogs must be reported and owners who do not do so are not fined. The revision is expected to include cats.

Also, when the owners get back their pets, they must receive an education about animal protection.

The SMG is pushing ahead with the change because of an increasing number of lost pets across the city.

From January to November, 6,234 dogs, 2,495 cats and 276 other pets, including rabbits and hamsters, were found by the animal centers. Among them, 46.3 percent died by euthanasia or disease, while 23.2 percent were returned home. The rest were taken by other people.

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