SEOUL, Oct. 26 (Korea Bizwire) – A new companion animal safety law requiring pet owners to keep their dogs on a leash in public amid a spate of vicious dog attacks in recent months is already being questioned over its effectiveness.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs on Wednesday, a new reporting system targeting owners of dogs off-leash in public is set to take effect from March of next year, with plans to give cash rewards to those who report irresponsible pet owners.
However, concerns continue to grow over the lack of details regarding the scheme, with some suggesting that it is unrealistic to think that it will be possible to obtain personal information including the name and home address of the owner, as well as a photograph, all of which are required to file a report.
Ahn, a 42-year-old housewife in Gyeonggi Province, says, “When most violators of the law are strangers, who in their right mind would tell you their name or address?
“It’s hard to gather personal information if the pet owner is unwilling to be forthcoming.”
With some even worrying about the possible physical altercations that could occur due to the new reporting system, experts say microchipping animals should be promoted first before introducing cash prizes for reporting off-leash dogs.
Currently, dog owners are expected to implant a microchip in their pet containing their own personal information including a name, phone number and an address, but an overwhelming number of dog owners in the country aren’t aware of the requirement.
“Without a microchip, it’s hard to identify owners. Though owners of dogs without microchips are hit with a fine of between 50,000 and 200,000 won, many go unreported due to lax regulations,” said Woosong College Professor Lee Hyung-seok.
Amid growing criticism, one official at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs says the ministry is looking at ways to effectively implement the new reporting system, while emphasizing that the personal information of owners in question will have to be provided nonetheless.
According to the agriculture ministry, fines for leaving dogs off leash in public spaces will be raised drastically from 100,000 won to 500,000 won, with plans to expand the classification of vicious dog breeds.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)