You're a true life saver if you've brought home a stray cat or dog, preventing harm by car accident, starvation, pregnancy, and other miseries. Not every animal found on the street is abandoned, however. Many cats and dogs are lost by accident, and their guardians will be most grateful if you can help them reunite. This page outlines tips on how to look for an animal's owner. The Korean phrases at the bottom of the page will also help you in your search.

What to do When You Find a Lost Animal

  1. Check for ID - Even if there is no ID tag, there may be a microchip or tattoo. Go to a veterinary clinic-- most vet clinics have a microchip reader or can recommend a clinic that does.
  2. Ask Around the Neighbourhood - Bring the animal (or a photo) to vet clinics, pet supply shops, grooming shops, neighbours, neighbourhood stores, apartment security guards, etc. to see if anyone recognizes the found animal and knows where s/he belongs. Look for "lost pet" posters her owners may have posted around. Remember that animals can run quite far from where they were originally lost, so check as wide an area as you can.
  3. Poster Your Neighbourhood - Put lots of copies of posters up all around the area where you found him/her as soon as possible. Include the contact information of a Korean friend if you are not able to speak Korean.
  4. Search and Post to Lost & Found Websites - The website 'Lost and Found Animals in Korea' (동물보호센터) has listings from all across the country, but only in Korean ( You can post a "found pet" notice there, as well as on the Animal Protection Management System website. Both sites are Korean-only, so ask a Korean friend or colleague for help if you can't speak Korean yourself.
  5. Contact Your Local District Office - Report the animal to your local Gu / 구 office. Each municipality has one or more animal control centers responsible for handling stray animals. Go to your city's website to find the contact information or ask a Korean friend to help.
  6. Contact Local Korean Animal Rescue Groups - Inform local private shelters and animal rescue centres (동물보호소) and request they post a photo of the animal on their websites and send notices to their members. Writing in Korean would be most effective, so ask a Korean friend to help with initial and follow up correspondence. The Lost and Found Animals in Korea website's network section collects dozens of Korean animal websites by location. The Animal Protection Management System's shelter list also provides a list of municipal shelters throughout Korea.

Can't Keep a Found Pet in Your House?

If your landlord does not permit pets, or if you have no way of separating your own companion from a stray in your home until the newfound animal has a clean bill of health, here's what you can do:

  1. Look for a foster home - Post a request for help to your favourite social networking sites.
  2. Pay for boarding at a vet clinic or 'pet hotel' - Drop in to a vet clinic in your neighbourhood or check ARK's Vet Clinic Directory for a recommendation. Some vet clinics are commissioned by the municipality to take in stray animals.
  3. Find a no-kill shelter - Check ARK's Animals Shelter Listings as well as the Animal Protection Management System's shelter list. Please note: many of these shelters are NOT NO-KILL. Please inquire about euthanasia policies before dropping off an animal at a shelter or vet clinic.

Korean Phrases for Asking About a Stray Cat or Dog

Thanks to Nicole Smith and friend for providing Korean translations of some helpful phrases!
Download PDF version

pet = 애완견
lost = 잃어버린
abandoned animal = 유기 동물
stray dog = 떠돌이 개
stray cat = 떠돌이 고양이
animal hospital (vet clinic) = 동물병원

To ask a taxi driver:
Please take me to the nearest animal hospital.
가장 가까운 동물병원까지 데려다주세요
(Thanks to clare_bell for providing this phrase to help Mocha)

I found this lost (cat / dog) on the street.
나는 거리에서 이 길 잃은 (고양이 / 개)를 발견했습니다.

Does this dog have a microchip?
이 개는 마이크로칩을 가지고 있습니까?

Does this (cat / dog) have a home?
이 (고양이 / 개)는 집이 있습니까?

Do you know where the owner lives?
당신은 주인이 사는 곳을 아시나요?

Can you notify the owners of this (cat / dog)?
당신은 이 (고양이 / 개)의 주인과 연락하실 수 있나요?

Can you notify local animal control about this (cat / dog)?
당신은 이 (고양이 / 개)를 담당하는 지역 동물 센터에 연락하실 수 있나요?

Can you notify local rescue groups about this (cat / dog)?
당신은 이 (고양이 / 개)를 담당하는 지역의 구조 단체에 연락하실 수 있나요?

May I post this (for adoption / lost animal) flyer in your business?
내가 이 (입양 / 잃어버린 동물) 전단지를 게시해도 될까요?

More Rescue Tips: For advice regarding common rescue situations see also the article "Rescuing an Animal from the Street" by Emma Thompson, Volunteer Coordinator at Korean Animal Protection Society (KAPS) in Daegu.

Written by Karen Busch. Originally published in 2011.