Pet Dog Cafés in Korea
Its uniqueness and need for improvement
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There is an increasing trend of visiting peculiar theme cafés in South Korea and a ‘pet dog café’ is deemed a charming and attractive place to visit. Like an ordinary café, they sell drinks and provide warm and snug atmosphere to couples, friends, and family. However, what’s novel about this pet dog café is that there are a diversity of dogs welcoming you, and also visitors can bring their own pets to the café. Confluent of animal-friendly theme and a cozy café became an innovative idea in the leisure market and the continuing popularity is demanding for more pet dog cafés.
Changing social attitudes towards dogs
Due to the rapid economic growth of South Korea, social development could not keep up with the increasing wealth in the country. Unlike other OECD countries where the pace of economic development was equivalent to the social recognition development, South Korea struggled with instilling ethical values among the citizens. One of the issues that South Korea was putting forward as its main predicament was enhancing the social recognition of animals, especially dogs. Attitudes of people treating animals as a 'possession' were often found in the increasing rate of animal abandonment. However, with the advent of pet dog café, people received closer accessibility to dogs and time to share a sympathetic communion with animals. This change occurred, further enhancing the social recognition on dogs- people began to regard dogs as their friends or family.
In average, a pet dog café holds about a dozen dogs and facilities needed to take care of their welfare. Thus, when visitors make a call on the café, they are able to experience firsthand the rearing dogs for a short time. As people learn about rearing dogs and the singularities of them, they can make the ultimate decision of whether they can be potential and ethical owners or not when they adpt dogs. Many animal protection activists claim for the necessity of this process which South Korea lacks. However, with the prevalence of pet dog cafés, people had closer accessibility to dogs and the experience of nurturing them, which led people to be careful and mature in considering all odds before the adoption of dogs.
Defects of pet dog cafés and how to overcome them
Despite the positive social effects that pet dog cafés are creating, few defects are detected as the café market grows. The most bulky concern of animal protection activists is the welfare of animals. Even though there are many café owners who treat their dogs as family, some vicious owners were found to be treating their dogs as only a means to lucrative business. According to Hankook Ilbo, “part-timers lacking professional knowledge about dogs have to handle the responsibility of 10 to 20 dogs at a time, which results in inappropriate hygiene and canine management method.” The size of the café is also a concern, since for active dogs, 10 meter-squared sized space is not enough for them to relieve their physical stress. Since part-timers are often times unable to distinguish what food can and can’t be given to dogs, there are increasing perils for the health and hygiene of dogs.
In order to resolve these problems, the most significant solution to ponder upon is amending the law. If the animal protection law is amended, then it will strictly forbid any pet dog cafés that are trying to run its business with inappropriate facilities, hygiene, and staff. The pet dog cafés should be large enough to accommodate numerous dogs, and the owner must relieve all dogs’ stress through physical activities. Also, the bodily secretion of dogs should be instantly cleaned and their hygiene and health should be kept up to a high level- through methods such as bathing dogs once a month, taking the dogs to regular checkups, taking care of their fur and dental health periodically. Further, when owners employ part-timers, they should pass certain tests regarding knowledge on dogs to prove themselves to be qualified enough to take responsibility of caring for a number of dogs.
Even though pet dog cafés need more improvement, they were effective enough to influence South Korea’s social recognition on animals. With the proximity to dogs and their lifestyles, people were able to approach them as their friends or family. As the Korean government is considering the amendment of national animal protection law, it is time for pet dog café owners to also regard themselves not only of business managers but of their dogs’ mothers and fathers.
Kim Ju-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
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