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Petiquette in desperate need

Posted October. 23, 2017 07:47,   

Updated October. 23, 2017 08:57


The owner of Hanilkwan, an upscale Korean restaurant in Seoul, died after being bitten by a dog owned by a South Korean singer on Sept. 30. This put the management and safeguard measures for owning pets on the chopping block. The dog that caused the incident, a French Bulldog, did not have a leash or muzzle on. A precious life was lost because of the negligence and carelessness of the dog owner.

Nowadays, more than 10 million people own pets in Korea but the responsibility and manners for keeping pets is far from being appropriate. Barking noise and leaving behind pet residue are indeed a problem, but the biggest issue is dog bites. According to Yun Jae-ok of the Liberty Korea Party, there were up to 2,111 cases last year, where a patient was sent to the hospital due to dog bites or dog related safety accidents. In June 2017, in a neighborhood in Dobong-gu, Seoul, two fierce dogs escaped their house and attacked three residents recklessly. In September, in Gochang, North Jeolla Province, a couple in their 40s was bit by four hunting dogs and suffered serious injuries. Although pets need to wear leashes when going outside and fierce dogs need to wear muzzles, this does not seem to be the case most of the time in Korea.

There are also frequent cases where the dog attacks its owner and other family members. In Siheung City, Gyeonggi Province, a 1-year-old baby bled to death on Sept. 6 after a Jindo dog, owned by the baby’s parents, bit her neck. In Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, an elderly woman in her seventies was killed in July by a Pungsan dog that she owned. On Sept. 4, an elderly woman in her 70s was killed by a Jindo dog that she owned. No matter what the reason, even dog owners cannot be not safe when his or her dog brings out its wildness.

The legal responsibilities of dog owners are too light. Even if dog owners fail to put a leash or muzzle on their dog, the amount of fine that can be imposed against them is a mere 500,000 won at most. In 1991, the United Kingdom established a law for fierce dogs in order to regulate the raising, breeding and selling of four types of fierce dogs including Pit Bull Terrier. Infrastructures such as Dogs Park, which allows pets to run around freely, should be provided but there is a need to refer to the developed countries, which require thorough legal responsibilities of pet owners. Nonetheless, what is more important than laws and systems is practicing petiquette, etiquette that must be in place when raising pets.