“Rent a puppy for a day”

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(123rf)

The pet scene in South Korea is evolving, with more than 10 million of the country’s 51 million people owning pets. A variety of businesses cater to pet owners or their beloved animal friends, ranging from high-end clothing to pet funeral services.

Amid a growing interest in pets, however, there are illegal businesses that rent out puppies or kittens to those who want the pet experience minus the responsibility or commitment to a pet. long term relationship. For them, pets are no different from a one-day toy or props for photo shoots.

“We lend out dogs or cats for 35,000 won ($29) a day,” a pet store based in Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, announces via a blog post on Naver, Korea’s largest portal site.

A screenshot of a Naver blog post promoting a pet rental service. (Nave)

When contacted for investigation, the store owner sent a link to an open chat room on the KakaoTalk messaging app, which he apparently uses to communicate with customers and conduct related transactions. “You can borrow dogs and cats for more than a day. Costs vary by breed of animal,” the owner said.

His pet lending business is illegal under current Animal Welfare Law, which states that a person who profits from the leasing of pets could be subject to a fine of up to at 3 million won.

Despite the ban, there appear to be an unknown number of people like the Gwangjin-gu businessman offering pets for rent in recent years, according to animal rights groups.

“It’s hard to know exactly how many pet rental businesses there are across the country, but I expect a number, boosted by the growing pet market here,” said Chae Il-taek, an official with the Korea Animal Welfare Association, in a phone interview.

Calling pet rental the dark side of Korea’s pet scene, he shared the case of a father who borrowed a dog for three days because his child kept nagging him to he adopts a pet, even though he suffered from allergic rhinitis.

“Raising and temporarily abandoning pets can be a form of animal abuse. Dogs and cats experience extreme stress when placed in a new environment. Also, there are opportunities for abuse by some bad owners,” he said.
Although private rental of animals is against the law, there are some exceptions. Animals may be rented for filming, experiential programs, or other educational purposes.

So, the majority of the pet rental providers here primarily cater to people in the media and entertainment industry.

An online company, for example, recently posted an ad to loan out a white Pomeranian puppy for 150,000 won for two days. The service is only available to customers who will have photo shoots with the pup, he said.

A screenshot of online websites lending animals for filming purposes.

A screenshot of online websites lending animals for filming purposes.

“We deliver the puppy by car to those who live in Seoul. If you live out of town, you need to come to our office in Dobong-gu to pick it up. Our main customers are magazine company film crews as well as advertising agencies,” the company owner said.

Another rental shop in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, lends several types of animals, ranging from small pets like guinea pigs and corn snakes to larger ones like prairie dogs, goats and horses, individuals and companies who need it for photo or video shoots. . All animals, regardless of species, cost 50,000 won for a three-hour rental, the store said.

A former racehorse who died after falling face-first to the ground while filming a stunt for KBS’ historical drama series ‘King of Tears, Lee Bang-won’ has also been nominated by a local rental of animals specializing in television and film productions. . The rental business has been in the business for more than 20 years, KAWA said.

The death of the horse, which was called Kami during the racing days, sparked public outcry over the behind-the-scenes cruelty of animal TV shows and movies.

“Many broadcast stations do not have internal guidelines to protect animals used by film crews. Given the lack of self-help efforts, the government badly needs to add new clauses to the current Animal Welfare Act that would impose greater liability on animal rental operators and their customers, while strengthening penalties for animal abuse,” said Suh Cooc-hwa, a lawyer with the civic group People for Non-human Rights, established in 2017 to prevent animal cruelty and improve animal rights management.

Amid growing calls for better treatment of service animals, the Department for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs earlier pledged to draft guidelines on the protection of animals used in series television or movie sets. The guidelines will include care tips by type of animal and precautionary measures to prevent mistreatment, the ministry said in a press release on Tuesday.

Some say there needs to be an independent public or private body that conducts on-site inspections of filming locations that use animals, such as the nonprofit American Human Association which is responsible for monitoring animal safety on sets. press since the 1940s.

The group grants “No Animals Were Harmed” final credit certification to Hollywood films that meet its standards of care for animal actors.

“Along with institutional changes, practical measures to prevent animals used at the filming site from being harmed are urgently needed,” said Kan Hyun-yim, head of Korea Animal Rights Advocates.

By Choi Jae-hee ([email protected])


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