Mero in Seoul found a stray in her neighbourhood. She did everything she could to find the owner and was successful after several days of searching. I learned from her story about how to make sure the people claiming to be a lost animal's owners truly are the guardians, rather than frauds.

When You Find a Stray

Written by Mero

Last Wednesday, after posting flyers all around the neighbourhood and on several websites, I got a phone call, but they were not the lost dog Pada's owner. On Wednesday night we took Pada to [a 24-hour animal clinic] where they keep local abandoned dogs for 30 days for no charge. Then someone can pay W40,000 for a medical check when they pick up or adopt the dog. They were really kind and it’s not so far from my house so I can visit him often.

Couple of reasons why we couldn’t keep him and wanted to take Pada to the clinic: Our contract with the landlord, and Pada was really having a hard time with my dog showing all frustrations through her body signs…

Also, when the owner or a new adopter shows up (especially if they are Korean), I wanted to have help from a specialist to educate them, like explaining why we need to use and buy an ID tag, leash, collar, about surgical castration and owner’s manner, etc… I thought we will be able to protect him from dog meat traders because the people will need to pay money to adopt him. I was really sad about having to take him to the vet, but it was the best option for us and him.

Ask For Proof of Ownership and Check the Dog’s Reaction

On Thursday I got a phone call from a Korean man who said “I saw the flier and I am the owner”. So we told him to bring and show us ID tag, leash, collar and pictures at least because we need to make sure he is the owner and not a dog meat trader. He has to wait and will have to go to hospital with us because we wanted to tell him “You need to have a responsibility… ”

We met this man and his daughter that night, he showed up [at our apartment] without ID tag, leash, collar, so we checked pictures and asked a bunch of questions. Soon after he showed up he keep saying “Not my dog, not my dog, that is my daughter’s dog.” He didn’t listen to anything we said… just half listening, made excuses and tried desperately to maintain his pride by telling us “My daughter and I will go to pick up my dog.” Of course we didn’t let him go to hospital by himself. At the vet, as soon as Pada saw this man, Pada was so happy. Pada wanted to go to this man’s arm from his daughter’s arm.

Educating Pet Owners

I hope dog owners know that the leash is the lifeline for their dog.

The vet explained to them, “How many animals are dying because of no ID tag, leash, collar” and about dog’s owner’s manners. We asked to please make sure that they take Pada to the vet for treatment. After a while the daughter picks up a new ID tag, leash, collar but her father asked her “Why we need to buy this? We don’t need this.” But the daughter asked again and he paid. The daughter looked like she understood the situation and she took it more serious than father. So I hope that she will educate her father and treat Pada better.

Here is what this man told us: “Pada always go for a walk by himself but he always comes back home. I guess he was just walking outside when you found Pada. All the neighbors know about him so it is safe.”

I thought: Well I walked with Pada and showed him to many of your neighbors but no one recognized him. Also I posted fliers and asked if they could recognize Pada which store you own or work. But they answered “ANDE! ANDE! ANDE! No poster! No dog! Aniyo! I don’t know this dog!”

He said: “Pada was in the car, and a neighbor friend took him outside for play soon as they started to play he ran away…”

I thought: I wish you had posted a flier then I could have found you earlier. I wish you went for a walk to look for Pada the next day then you could have seen my flier.

I still don’t understand why they took 3 days to make a phone call to me. I found Pada a 3 min. walk from my house… I met and got a phone call from another person who was looking for a dog, but I didn’t see any other flier at the vet… I hope these owners think and realize if they do not look for their dog soon, a dog meat seller will catch them.

Pets Sold to the Meat Market

My friend told me that Koreans show up to get dogs for free to sell to the meat market. They sell all kinds of dog, including companion dog. They contact to us very friendly and saying “I can be a dog’s owner”, “I’m this dog’s owner”. I got many crank phone calls and who want to be a dog’s new owner (I hope they were kind people).

I learned a lot from this experience and I really appreciate my friend’s help. I couldn’t find Pada’s owner without my friends’s help. I visited everywhere I left a flier to thank them and remove fliers. They were so happy. I’m glad to have the chance to see these people who want to help others.

Written by Mero and originally posted in 2007.