SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Korea Bizwire) — South Koreans are up in arms over the news that military working dogs are being fed low-grade food, after military working dog Dalgwan became a national hero for finding Cho Eunnuri, 14, who went missing in Cheongju.
Rep. Kim Jong-dae of the minor opposition Justice Party asked the Minister of Defense last Monday at the National Assembly Defense Committee to purchase better food for military working dogs.
“It’s a military working dog that found Ms. Cho 11 days after she went missing, and we can’t continue to feed dogs food that costs 1,800 won (US$1.49) per kilogram,” Kim said.
“It’s useless if we adopt military working dogs that cost 2 million won (US$1,652) each and don’t feed them properly. Twenty percent of all military working dogs are receiving medical treatment because they’re just too weak.”
The average price of dog food for ordinary households is 70,000 to 100,000 won for 10 to 15 kilograms of food.
Dog food for military working dogs costs less than one-third of the household average, which is pointed out by many as evidence that military working dogs are not receiving the respect and care they deserve, despite their onerous tasks and responsibilities.
The Logistics Command and the Public Procurement Service that are in charge of designating subcontractors for military dog food currently purchase food from the company submitting the lowest bid, which increases the odds that the dog food being purchased is of lower quality.
Experts argue that veterinarians and other animal specialists should be engaged to see if military working dogs are eating and digesting food properly.
The Detection Dog Center at the Korea Customs Service or Quarantine Detection Dog Center at the National Veterinary Research & Quarantine Service, for instance, invite veterinarians or on-site operators to choose the food for their dogs.
Experts say that the military should delegate the responsibility of assessing, selecting, and purchasing dog food to veterinarians and training specialists, and set a limit on a budget used to purchase the food.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)