A dog receives treatment at an animal shelter in Chuncheon, 85 kilometers northeast of Seoul, in this file photo taken May 20, 2020. (Yonhap)
Around 30 percent of stray pets protected by animal shelters found new homes in 2020, data showed Monday, amid the growing popularity of raising pets in South Korea.
The number of pets rescued by animal shelters came to 130,401 in 2020, down 3.9 percent from 135,791 posted in the previous year, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
The data showed 29.6 percent of the rescued animals in 2020 were adopted, up 3.2 percentage points from a year earlier.
A quarter died of natural causes, while 20.8 percent were euthanized. Around 11 percent were returned to their original owners.
Of the animals rescued, dogs accounted for 73.1 percent, followed by cats at 25.7 percent. The country operated 280 shelters in 2020 with a combined budget of 26.7 billion won ($23.7 million).
Local authorities also neutered some 73,632 street cats in 2020.
Last year, 235,637 animals were newly added to the country's pet registration system, up 11 percent from a year earlier.
A separate survey released by the ministry last month showed the number of households raising pets was estimated at 6.38 million in 2020, up 8 percent from the previous year's 5.91 million. The figure roughly translates to 28 percent of the country's 23 million households. (Yonhap)