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Increasing dog attacks spark societal change
  • Kim Eun-hwa, reporter
  • 승인 2017.11.13 08:30
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In the era when the number of Korean dogs as house pets exceeds 1 million, there is a growing need to improve the management of animals with safety measures as fears are spreading because of dog bites.

In early October, these sentiments began to be amplified after a Korean table restaurant owner, Kim died after being bitten by famous celebrity’s dog.

On October 23rd, a medical examiner said that serious bleeding didn’t occur, but a secondary infection can occur and that’s what happened to Kim. There are about 60 species of bacteria in a dog’s saliva and they can cause serious infection such as rabies. This was Kim’s cause of death and an acute disease infected him with viral microorganisms, causing serious inflammatory reaction in his whole body.

The importance of ‘petiquette’ is brought to light when these accidents occur. It is a compound word of ‘pet’ and ‘etiquette’ which means social courtesy. Typical petiquette involves keeping a dog on a leash and sometimes using a muzzle when going outside.

Despite these regulations, dog bites are increasing steadily. According to the Korea Consumer Agency, 245 cases occurred in 2011. and increased to 701 cases in 2014 and then doubled to 1488 cases the following years. Last year, 1019 cases were reported.

The cause of the increase in accidents is the absence of the role of existing enforcement ordinances. The Animal Protection Act stipulates that the owner must take safety measures such as wear using a leash when taking the animal outside and immediately collecting excrement and disposing of it properly.

Dog bite accidents have become a social issue and the government has decided to increase the number of dog breeds required to wear muzzles (the devices worn on a dog’s mouth to prevent biting) in public places in order to improve safety.

Compared with other countries, Korea is quite far behind on this issue. Some countries require a court’s permission to raise fierce dogs or prohibit the possession of fierce dogs altogether. In 1991, Britain implemented the ‘Dangerous Dogs Acts’ and changed its guidelines to impose a maximum of 14 years imprisonment for the owner of a dog in a life-threatening incident. In China, there is a penalty point system and in some areas it has been declared illicit to possess certain breeds. In this way, foreign countries are strengthening and enforcing management regulations on dogs, making it clear that they are responsible for ideological accidents.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said that they will implement a ‘dog paparazzi system from next March to enhance safety. It is a system in which people dog owners who don’t follow safety regulations such as using a leash and collar, and they can receive 20% of penalty fine up to a maximum of 20 reports.

However, there are many critics because they say the implementation plan has not been clearly established. It is also difficult to check someone’s identification and it may be illegal to acquire pictures of them as evidence.

Experts emphasize that the ‘growth of civil consciousness’ is the first priority before strengthening the laws. The Korean Society for Animal Freedom says “It is important that the socialization education for companion animals has to be culturally established. It is to encourage companion animals to acquire some necessary skills to live with humans and the government should provide support for socialization education for companion animals.”

Finally, we should pay attention to history of dogs as companions which goes back 14,000 years. Although it is a long time, there are still wild instincts in dogs from their wolf ancestors. Furthermore, we have beware not to enact injustice, , but also maintain the welfare satisfaction from companion animals.

Desirable petiquette : A fierce dog with a muzzle

Kim Eun-hwa, reporter  qbxlvlrm5226@naver.com

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