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It’s always heartbreaking when an animal thinks they’ve found their forever home, then end up being returned to the shelter. It’s a situation most people would want to prevent from happening, but in some areas, it’s being encouraged through “rent a puppy” business models.

In Seol, South Korea, for example, businesses are renting out puppies and kittens for one to three days, so people can enjoy having a small pet without fully committing to the animal’s care. It’s illegal, but companies have found a loophole in the animal welfare law that allows them to continue renting out animals.

According to The Korea Herald, animals may only be rented for filming, educational purposes, or experience programs. It’s illegal to rent animals to simply have at home for a day or two, but some people are doing just that and claiming they’re doing “photoshoots” of the animals.

The Korea Herald reported that one company was running an online advertisement for a Pomeranian rental puppy. The puppy could be borrowed for two days for 150,000 won (around $125 USD). In the listing, it specified that the service was only available to customers who would take photoshoots with the puppy.

It’s unclear how many illegal puppy renting places exist, but it’s possible there are quite a few and the trend seems to be growing.

Chae Il-taek, from the Korean Animal Welfare Association, reportedly said in a phone interview, “It’s hard to know exactly how many pet rental businesses there are across the nation, but I expect quite a few, boosted by the growing pet market here.”

Not only does renting out pets potentially put them in harm’s way if the renter is a bad caretaker, but it can also cause the animal anxiety, stress, and fear. Dogs and cats aren’t meant to be passed around from person to person, instead, they need a stable, loving place to call home.

Because of the outcry against the poor treatment of animals, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has drafted guidelines to better protect animals being used on movie sets and for filming.

It’s critical to avoid supporting unethical businesses that rent animals and take legal loopholes to avoid being caught. It’s cruel and can put the animals involved at serious risk of physical or emotional issues. Additionally, the industry supports breeding dogs which ultimately leads to more dogs on the streets, more dogs in shelters, and more dogs being euthanized.

To reduce the number of suffering dogs on the streets and dogs who are euthanized, it’s important to adopt instead of shop for a dog. Familiarize yourself with tips for adopting so you’re well prepared, and read about five things you can do to help stop puppy mills

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