Having a Pet in South Korea
Useful information for owners of dogs and cats in South Korea, with details of vaccinations, pets in public places and lost and found animals...
While there is no law which specifically prohibits having a pet in an apartment complex, it is best to check the lease first.
All pets must have a microchip or an electronic tag when they are in public areas. Also, owners must register their pet at a veterinary surgery. The following information is needed about the pet:
- Date of birth
Owners who fail to register their pets could be fined.
Rabies vaccination is compulsory for dogs. The first vaccination should be given at three months and a booster vaccination within six months
Other recommended vaccinations for dogs include:
- D - Canine distemper
- H - Canine infectious hepatitis
- P - Canine Parvoviral Enteritis
- P- Canine Parainfluenza
- L - Canine Leptospirosis
- Kennel cough
Guidelines for pet owners
- Selling puppies and kittens under eight weeks old is illegal
- All dogs and cats that are bought or sold must be identified with a microchip or an electronic tag
- A certificate of sale and a veterinarian's clean bill of health must be issued by the seller to the buyer of an animal
- Children under 14 years old are not allowed to buy animals
- There are heavy penalties for cruelty towards and mistreatment of an animal
Buying a Pet
When buying a pet in South Korea, the buyer should receive the following information:
- Identification card for the animal
- Contract or sales certificate which must include the following:
- Business registration number
- Name and address of both the seller and buyer
- Date of sale
- Full purchase price
- Name of the consulting veterinary surgeon
The following additional information must be given for a pedigree animal:
- Birth certificate or pedigree
- Vaccination book
- Information booklet with tips on the animal's needs, features, colours, sex, and the extent of its training
Public Transport with Pets
- Air travel: Airlines have their own policies about transporting animals. Some airlines accept a dog on board provided that it weighs less than five kilograms and is carried in an animal carrier bag. Usually an extra fee is charged. Animals that are heavier than five kilograms need an appropriate container.
- For general information on shipping cats and dogs from the International Air Transport Association (IATA): Click here
- Bus and subway travel: Pets must be transported in a cage or animal carrier bag. Service animals that assist people with disabilities are permitted to ride on public transport
- Ship travel: Pets must be transported in a cage or animal carrier bag
- Train travel: There is no additional charge for pets, but they must be carried in an appropriate bag or cage
Pets in Public Places
When pets are outside with their owners in public areas they must have an identification tag or microchip. Owners must also use a leash or harness when walking their dogs, and they must clean up their dogs' excrement in public areas.
Owners can be fined for not using a leash or harness in a public place and for not cleaning up after their dog.
Lost or Found Pet
When an animal is lost or found, contact the nearest Animal Protection Management Centre or veterinary surgery, where a dog, cat or ferret can be identified by its identification tag, tattoo or microchip.
For a lost dog, contact:
- Lost and Found Animals in Korea (in Korean)
For a lost cat, contact:
- Kitten Shelter (in Korean)
For a stray animal, contact the Korea Animal Rescue and Management Association (KARAMA). They collect the animal and take care of it until the owner is found.
- KARAMA (in Korean)
Tel: 031 862 2259
An animal that is not returned to their owner within ten days is transferred to local government (Si, Gun or Gu).
- To find the nearest Animal Protection Management Centre: Click here (in Korean)
- National Animal Protection Management System
Tel: 02 1577 0954
Animal Protection Law in Korea
Korea's Animal Protection Law, which was revised in 2011, promotes animals' welfare, protects them from cruelty and also ensures that owners are responsible for their animals' care. The website of the Korean Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has further information regarding animal protection standards.
It is illegal in South Korea to have as a pet an animal that is an endangered species.
- Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
At: Government Complex, Gwacheon, 47, Gwanmoon ro, Gwacheon si
Tel: 02 503 7200
Articles about animal protection law in Korea:
There are many veterinary surgeries in Korea, particularly in Seoul, and many clinics have a 24-hour hotline as well as emergency services. It is best to know where the nearest surgery is in case of an emergency. Click here for a list of vets in Seoul.