By Lee Hyo-jin
Starting in October, owners who have not registered their pet dogs will face a fine of up to 600,000 won ($510).
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs announced Sunday that it will launch a crackdown from Oct. 1 on dog owners over a set of pet-related rules, including pet registration and requirements on leashes and muzzles in public areas.
The mandatory registration system aims to strengthen responsibility among pet owners and reduce the number of abandoned dogs.
Under the rules, all dogs two months or older should be registered at local governments or designated veterinary clinics. Owners can choose between pendants or electronic microchips which are embedded under the dog's skin.
The punishment for having an unregistered dog is a 200,000 won fine, while owners who repeatedly fail register their pets face bigger fines ― 400,000 won if they are caught twice and 600,000 won for the third time.
In addition, those who have not leashed their dogs in public areas will face a fine of 200,000 won on the first notice, 300,000 won on the second, and 500,000 won on the third.
The authorities, in cooperation with local government officials, plan to launch inspections in areas frequently visited by dog owners, such as parks and playgrounds for pets.
In addition, owners of dogs categorized as "aggressive breeds" ― Tosas, American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, rottweilers ― and dogs crossbred from these, must make sure their canine companions are muzzled and leashed in public areas.