By Bae Ji-sook
This year, the small, white Maltese and the larger Korean Jindo breeds of dogs were the most abandoned pets in Seoul by size category, according to the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service, Monday.
Most of them were found in the Eunpyeong and Mapo districts where redevelopment plans are underway, the institute said.
The number of small dogs found abandoned reached about 12,000 between January and August this year, among which 1,208 were Maltese followed by 1,125 shih tzu and 730 Yorkshire Terriers, among others.
Jindo dogs topped the large-dog category with 284 followed by 104 Golden Retrievers and 44 Siberian Huskies. Most of them were found in Eunpyeong, Mapo, Songpa and Seodaemun, where residents moved to other places.
Some pet owners easily abandon their companions once their “craze” for a pet fades, according to experts. “For example, Siberian Huskies originate from the far northern hemisphere, which does not suite the Korean climate. The dogs suffer from hair loss, lethargy and other health problems while owners easily get disappointed,” Prof. Hwang Cheol-yong of the Seoul National University told Yonhap News.
Animal shelters conduct mercy killing of abandoned pets unless the owner shows up within 10 days from the notice, while a few very lucky ones are adopted.
Many experts said more local administrations should implant a microchip with information about the pet owner so that people take complete responsibility for their animal companions and not treat them like casual toys. At present, Seongnam City in Gyeonggi Province has implemented such a program.