He was maltreated for years by his former owner before he was rescued by a South Korean animal rights group. After two more years in a shelter, the mutt became South Korea's first dog in June 2017.
Tori was inducted by newly elected President Moon Jae-in. The adoption of a dog had been one of Moon's promises to raise awareness of abandoned dogs and animal rights.
Tori's story is a symbol of a change in attitude throughout South Korean society, when dogs from the dining table become valued companions animals and the country's ongoing tradition of consuming dog meat.
International animal rights groups have worked to rescue dogs from farms in South Korea and relocate them overseas, including in the US, UK, and Canada. According to Humane Society International (HSI), since 201
The number of South Koreans who eat dog meat has declined in recent years, while the number of households keeping dogs as pets has grown exponentially. South Korean animal rights activists were at the forefront of stopping dog meat trafficking.
In Seoul official statistics show that the number of dog restaurants decreased by 40% between 2005 and 2014, mainly due to lower demand. In the National Assembly, two legislative proposals have been proposed to exclude dogs from the livestock category so that they can not be kept for meat, and to ban the feeding of dogs with food debris, a common practice on dog farms. If these bills are passed, the already shrinking dog meat industry could almost collapse.
Last month, in Seongnam, a Seoul satellite city, Taepyeong, the country's largest dog slaughterhouse closed, where hundreds of thousands of dogs were electrocuted each year before being sold for meat.
"This really feels like a milestone in the demise of the dog meat industry in South Korea and sends a clear message that the dog meat industry is increasingly undesirable in Korean society," said NIAR Kim of HSI at the site of the closure.
Kim is part of a group of activists who work with dog farmers who want to turn their backs on industry, giving them financial support for each one of them.
"We worked with 13 farmers and they all came to us asking for help because they admit that this industry is dying," said Kim.
According to Gallup Korea's June survey in 2018, around 70% of South Koreans said they would not eat dog meat in the future – up from 44% in 2015.
The changing perceptions of dogs by South Koreans can be traced back to several factors, but several experts emphasized the need for society in an increasingly competitive and more atomized society.
"Increasing single households and relatively high levels of stress from interaction with people in South Korea could have contributed to this change," said Suh Eun-kook, a professor of psychology at Yonsei University in Seoul.
"Humans judge humans, but dogs do not care for humans, but instead dogs give us unconditional satisfaction, and this unconditional love of dogs seems to have contributed to growing popularity in keeping dogs as pets."
One in four South Korean adults now own a pet, and the average owner spends about $ 90 on them each month, according to KB Financial Group research.
With the growth of pet ownership, companies offering goods and services, such as insurance, day care and cleaning companies, have grown significantly.
According to NongHyup, the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, South Korea's pet industry had a value of $ 1.14 billion in 2013, but rose rapidly to $ 3.4 billion by 2017. It is expected to reach 5 by 2020, $ 4 billion is now big business in South Korea, where the pet industry has grown exponentially in recent years. "src-mini =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181218155558-south-korea-dog-02-small-169.jpg "src-xsmall =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext /dam/assets/181218155558-south-korea-dog-02-medium-plus-169.jpg "src-small =" http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181218155558-south-korea- dog-02-large-169.jpg "src-medium =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181218155558-south-korea-dog-02-exlarge-169.jpg "src-large =" //cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181218155558-south-korea-dog-02-super-169.jpg "src-full16x9 =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181218155558 -south-korea-dog-02-full-169.jpg "src-mini1x1 =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181218155558-south-korea-dog-02-small-11.jpg " data-demand-load = "not-loaded" data-eq-pts = "mini: 0, xsmall: 221, small: 308, medium: 461, large: 781" />