SEOUL, June 12 (Korea Bizwire) – Last year, 245 pet animals were abandoned on a daily basis in South Korea, according to statistics released by the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency yesterday.
In total close to 90,000 animals were abandoned or went missing last year, up 9.3 percent from the previous year, while the figure increased for the third consecutive year.
While data collected from local governments under section 45 of the Animal Protection Act shows a minimum of 245 abandoned animals per day, experts believe the number is a lot higher when missing animals that go unreported are also taken into consideration.
Considering just over 90,000 animals were tagged with identification chips last year, around the same number of pet animals were abandoned as those that found a new family.
Local governments also reported an increase in expenditures on animal shelters and the rescue and protection of stray animals, up 18 percent from last year while totaling around 11.5 billion won.
When broken down by animal type, dogs accounted for 70.9 percent, followed by cats at 27.8 percent.
Only 30.4 percent of stray animals were adopted after entering a shelter, while 35 percent died a natural death.
The data also showed that 15.2 percent of the stray animals were able to return to their owner.
Despite a downward trend in the number of animals put down at shelters, nearly one in every five animals still ends up being euthanized.
The statistics also showed the number of animal care centers stood at 281 as of last year, down 8.5 percent from the previous year, which the quarantine agency says is due to the growing number of larger city and town-owned animal care centers.
Pet ownership is on the rise in South Korea, as the dog population in the country exceeded one million for the first time last year, with over 5,500 people estimated to be working in the pet care industry.
At the same time, the number of stray animals also grew, with the latest figure pointing to an increase of some 7,000 stray cats reported last year compared to the previous year.
“In order to help create a healthy pet culture, we plan to introduce a special judicial police for protection of animals to ramp up our efforts to crack down on animal abuse,” an official at the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency said in response to the growing number of abandoned pet animals.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)