SEJONG, Jan. 18 (Korea Bizwire) — Aggressive dogs will be required to wear leashes and muzzles in public places and dog owners who violate the regulation will be fined under a revised animal protection law starting from March, the agriculture ministry said Thursday.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said it will give cash rewards to those who report dog owners who fail to follow the rules, starting on March 22.
Under the revisions, dog owners will be required use a leash no longer than 2 meters and will be subject to criminal punishment if their pets injure people.
If dogs that are not leashed carry out fatal attacks, their owners will face up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of 30 million won (US$27,650).
“Although the dog’s size is not related to its aggressiveness, attacks by larger dogs could lead to more serious injuries or even deaths. Potentially dangerous dogs will be required to wear both a leash and a muzzle in public places,” Park Byung-hong, a senior ministry official said in a briefing.
The ministry said it will also push to revise a law so as to allow mayors and provincial governors to keep dogs in isolation without owners’ consent if the dogs cause injuries to people.
The government introduced the stricter punishment for negligent dog owners as a series of fatal dog bites have sparked calls for better control of potentially dangerous dogs in recent years.
A total of 1,019 dog bite cases were reported in 2016, more than quadruple the 245 cases reported in 2011, according to the Korea Consumer Agency.