Living Side-by-side with Feral Dogs

There were some feral dogs in a village in Nokbun-dong, near Bukhan Mountain in Seoul,  living peacefully without hurting anyone; animals or people. They were co-existing with the villagers, with some providing food and water. Some residents even regarded them as protecting the village from wild boar.

However, one man started calling the local government to ask them to capture the dogs. The local government paid hunters to capture the dogs using tranquilizer guns, and the dogs caught never returned. Some local governments in other parts of Korea even tried to remove all the feral dogs by indiscriminately killing them, classifying them as harmful animals.

Usual method of killing feral dogs. Photo credit: EBS, May 2017

Even though we successfully stopped the plan to indiscriminately kill feral dogs by arguing that it was immoral, they should still be caught if there are any civil complaints about them. Captured dogs at least have a chance to be adopted. Unfortunately, this rarely happens.

Feral dogs once used to be beloved family members. We should keep that in mind. Since they were discarded by their family, they no longer behave as had done under human supervision. Over time without human socialization, dogs that used to be pets turn into feral dogs which some say should be killed.

Then, we have to ask to ourselves this question: is it really not possible to co-exist with feral dogs? Eventually, it is all about aggression towards people. If people didn’t attack the dogs and accepted them as beings, those dogs wouldn’t interfere with people’s lives either.

Dogs captured for TNR by CARE

CARE has started something which has not been tried before in South Korea.

For some the feral dogs who had no fear nor aggression towards people, we carried out a TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) program. The dogs were caught, neutered and vaccinated, and after recovery, returned back to their original territory where villagers provided regular food and water. Feral dogs in the Ilsan area will be next. One old man is caring for about 20 feral dogs.

Eventually, TNR will be carried out for all the dogs, and extra treatment will be provided for those dogs who need it.

Indiscriminately killing these dogs is not, and should never be, the answer.

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