YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (June 7, 2013) -- A new pet law affects U.S. military personnel bringing pets into South Korea, according to an Army veterinary official here.

Maj. Lane Hansen said stricter new rules went into effect in December 2012 that impact U.S. military pet owners serving in Korea or moving to the peninsula.

Hansen, the clinic operations officer for the 106th Medical Detachment Veterinary Service Support, said the new rules are designed "to prevent introduction of animal transmitted diseases."

The new Korean law requires all dogs over three months old to have an ISO-standard microchip implanted. It also requires them to be registered, kept on a leash outside and muzzled if the dog is "fractious" or testy.

Dogs considered "fractious" are Tosas, American Pit Bulls, American Staffordshire Terriers and Rottweilers or mixes of those dog breeds.

Dogs that are aggressive to people must also be muzzled.

Hansen said U.S. Forces Korea policy also requires all pets to be vaccinated for rabies and communicable species specific diseases, to have microchips implanted and to be registered at the Veterinary Treatment Facility on base.

The new law also requires additional steps to import pets into Korea and not complying with the new rules can be costly.

"It can cost owners from $200 to $600 or more for each animal they bring into the country if not done properly," said Hansen.

Korea allows pet owners to bring up to four pets into the country but Hansen said pet owners should check installation housing policy first.

Hansen encourages U.S. military personnel to do their homework before bringing pets to Korea.

"Those who have the required documentation have minimal headaches with entry," said Hansen, a native of Boise, Idaho.

For more information on pet importation requirements, check the 106th Medical Detachment Veterinary Service Support Web page at http://www.korea.amedd.army.mil/veterinary/index.html.