중앙데일리

Tips for those tempted to take in a pet

‘Many people don’t seem to think about the consequences of adopting an animal.’

Apr 28,2009
For many teachers who come to Korea, one of the things difficult to get used to is the treatment of animals we consider pets and even family members back home. Cats are generally disliked, and more often than not we meet them as strays. Lapdogs are popular accessories, though big dogs are usually found chained to a building, given not enough leash to prevent them from walking around their own feces. Even Jindos, a breed designated a natural treasure, fare no better. To say nothing, of course, of the abuse suffered at the hands of those who raise dogs for food.

Thus it’s not uncommon for teachers to want to “rescue” animals: adopt them off the street, from a shelter or from a friend. There are many success stories, and the work of groups like Animal Rescue Korea is admirable. But I put rescue in quotation marks because there are those who get a pet only to have to get rid of it once it’s time to leave Korea at the end of a contract. Are the animals resigned to transient foreigners and irresponsible owners any better off?

“I find it disgusting that people rescue animals here and treat them like a disposable cup,” writes Desiree Teacher. “Many people don’t seem to think about the consequences of adopting an animal (and it’s not just here, it’s everywhere).”

ROK Hound writes: “They are no better than the Koreans whom they claim the cats are being rescued from.” Gomushin Girl writes: “People not in a stable position don’t have much business taking in a pet. People almost certainly shouldn’t be taking in feral ‘abandoned’ animals - that’s what shelters are for.”

Taking pets back home is doable, if expensive and a little unpleasant. What commenters didn’t touch on in detail was the welfare of their animals during the trip home, and whether there was any extended quarantine period upon entry.

Writes Ms. Parker, “there are plenty of reasons why people ‘can’t’ take their animals with them once their time is up in Korea, including animal quarantines, import regulations and simply having no place to go [in their home country].”

She adds as well, “the disposable animal syndrome is no worse in Korea than elsewhere.”

Perhaps - though at the end of each semester there are enough teachers trying to unload dogs, cats, and rabbits that it’s a cause for concern in the community.

For her part Ms. Parker writes, “I know of far too many people who have taken their animals back to their home countries with them to make it a generalization that ‘every foreigner dumps their cat/dog/rabbit after the year is up.’”

What of those who can’t take their pets home? “I don’t know if I disagree with people passing along a pet to others rather than bringing it with them if their circumstances change,” writes fattycat.

Those looking for more information about responsibly adopting animals and eventually taking them out of Korea should take a look at Animal Rescue Korea at animalrescuekorea.org and the Facebook group “I adopted a homeless animal in Korea and lived to tell the tale.”



Visit Brian in Jeollanam-do at: http://briandeutsch.blogspot.com/



By Brian Deutsch Contributing writer



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