North Korea bans keeping dogs as pets unless they plan to eat them

Thursday, March 14, 2024
 – North Koreans have been banned from keeping dogs as pets except they are kept for meat and fur.

The ban was announced through the Socialist Women's Union of Korea, according to a source in South Pyongan Province, which lies north of the capital.

Speaking to Daily NK, a newspaper in neighboring South Korea, the source listed the offences that could leave dog owners in violation of the government's socialist ethos.

'Treating a dog as a family member, who eats and sleeps with the family, is incompatible with the socialist lifestyle and should be strictly avoided,' they said.

Dressing dogs in clothes, as exemplified by Western celebrities like Paris Hilton, was also singled out for condemnation.

The source continued: 'The practice of dressing up dogs as if they were humans, putting pretty ribbons in their hair, wrapping them in a blanket, and burying them when they die is a bourgeois activity.

'It's one of the ways wealthy people waste money in a capitalist society.'

Describing the regime's attitude, the source said: 'Dogs are basically meat that's raised outside in accordance with their nature and then eaten when they die.

'Therefore, such behaviour is totally unsocialist and must be strictly eliminated.'

The regime also emphasised that 'the purpose of raising dogs is to collect more furs', the source said.

Rising levels of dog ownership – a practice described by the authorities as carrying 'the stench of the bourgeoisie' – reportedly motivated the new edict.

And while citizens were being given the chance to deal with the matter 'quietly', non-compliance could trigger a 'mass movement' to 'eliminate' the practice, the source said.

The custom of keeping pet pooches must ultimately die out, union members were warned.

One dog owner described by Daily NK was reduced to tears by the announcement.

'What should I do with the dog I love so much? I can't just kill it, and I can't just abandon it,' she reportedly said.

Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), which documents the atrocities of the Kim regime, said it was a 'ludicrous' decree.

He said: 'The Kim regime criminalises normal behaviour, including visiting a relative in a neighbouring village without a travel permit, crossing the border without regime approval, or possessing a religious book.

'The ongoing crackdown on pet dog ownership as non-socialist behaviour – this attempt to break the multi-millennial human-canine bond by ideological decree – is the epitome of ludicrous interdiction.'

According to the source in South Pyongan, the practice of keeping dogs as pets started small in North Korea in the early 2000s, when they were usually guard dogs.

They said: 'There have always been families who had cats to catch mice, but there weren't many families with dogs.

'But that number has gradually increased, and recently there's been a noticeable rise in foreign breeds of dogs such as Pomeranians and Shih Tzus, which used to be a rare sight in North Korea.' 

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