The South Korean government will increase penalties on people who leave their dogs without a leash in public, following the death of a restaurant owner who was bitten by the dog of Super Junior member Siwon.
Koreans are outraged after 53-year-old restaurant owner Kim died of sepsis, days after he was bitten by Siwon's dog Bugsy inside an elevator in their apartment building in Seoul.
Siwon has publicly apologized to the family but netizens are criticizing him and his family for allowing the dog to go out in public without a leash, in spite of knowing that it bites people. Many are asking them to put down the dog.
Netizens are also calling for Siwon to step down from the drama "Revolutionary Love" because of Kim's death.
The South Korean government announced that it will strengthen regulations and increase fines for dogs without a leash in public after it noted that many people have been injured and killed by dog bites.
A total of 1,019 dog bite incidents were recorded in 2016, the Korea Consumer Agency said, up from 245 in 2011.
"The current animal protection law doesn't have separate punishment clauses (for dog attacks), so people have been punished for injuries or deaths resulting from negligence," said Park Byung-hong of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "We will consider making laws on dog-related injuries in cooperation with the National Assembly to establish a legal framework for such cases."
Under the proposed amendments, fines will be increased against people who do not clean up animal waste and who let dogs out in public without a leash. First-time offenders will pay 200,000 won (US$176.9) from the current 50,000 won ($44.32), while second and third violations will be meted out with 300,000 won and 500,000 won in fines, respectively.
In addition, the ministry said it will expand the list of dangerous dogs that should have muzzles in public from the current list of pit bulls, American pit bull terriers and Rottweilers.
Regarding putting down dogs, Park said, "We haven't discussed additional measures like euthanasia. We will look further into additional measures in addition to the punishment clause, including requirements for obedience training."