The Korea Herald


Govt. approval to be required for owning 'dangerous dogs'

By Song Seung-hyun

Published : April 3, 2024 - 14:14

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Are you considering raising a pit bull terrier? Then you will soon need to get approval from the local authorities, according to a government plan unveiled Wednesday.

Starting April 27, government approval will be required to own certain dog breeds considered dangerous under the Animal Protection Act, which specifies five dangerous breeds including tosa inu, pit bull terriers and rottweilers, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs.

The decision comes in response to a steady increase in dog attack cases in S. Korea, where the number of pet-owning households has continued to grow.

Pet dogs, which previously numbered 4.39 million across 3.2 million households in 2012, jumped to 5.44 million across 4.5 million households in 2022. At the same time, there has been a rise in the number of dog bite accidents, according to the National Fire Agency. Recently. The number of incidents rose from 2,154 in 2019 to 2,216 in 2022.

Under the new plan, people wanting to own dog breeds deemed potentially dangerous must meet government-set requirements. These include registering their dog, obtaining insurance that covers compensation for legal liabilities stemming from dog-related accidents, and neutering or spaying their dogs.

Also, the dogs must undergo a temperament evaluation to determine their suitability as household pets. This evaluation can be conducted through submitting relevant test data or by conducting on-site investigations. Based on this information, a panel comprising experts such as veterinarians, animal behaviorists and trainers will make the final decision.

Owning a dog breed classified as dangerous without approval can result in up to 1 year in prison or a fine of up to 10 million won ($7,400).

If it is determined that a dog who went through the evaluation is considered to be a high risk to public safety, the dog may be ordered to be euthanized.

Also, even if approval is granted, it may be revoked if the dog attacks and injures or kills a human or another animal.

Those who are currently raising dangerous dog breeds also have to get government approval by Oct. 27.

Additionally, the government announced that in public spaces, including elevators, owners must ensure that dangerous dogs are kept separate and are adequately restrained, such as through the use of a neck collar or by carrying the dog.

Muzzles are also mandatory for dangerous dogs who are over 3 months old.