South Korea is one of the few countries that recognize animals as creatures, with due respect for safety, increased welfare, and respect.
The push for civil code changes comes as the number of animal cruelty cases has risen to 914 in 2019 from 69 in 2010, while the number of residents who own pets has grown to more than 10 million in a country with a population of 52 million.
South Korea’s animal safety laws indicate that anyone who mistreats or abuses animals can also be sentenced to up to three years in prison or a $25,000 fine.
Animal rights groups welcomed the Justice Department’s plan and called for stiffer penalties for those who abandon or torture animals, in addition to a ban on dog meat.
The Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency said that despite a slight decline last year, the number of abandoned animals rose to 130,401 in 2020 from 89,732 cases in 2016.
There are about 6 million domestic dogs and cats in South Korea.