South Korean town rattled by rogue canine alert

SEOUL (Reuters) - An emergency text message alerting residents of a rural South Korean town to watch out for 70 ferocious dogs on the loose had to be quickly withdrawn after it turned out only three canines had wandered off a farm in the area, officials said.

Wednesday's alert from the Dong-gu district office in Daejeon followed a report from the civic emergency service that a caller had reported seeing "70 large dogs" roaming an area on the city's outskirts.

"We were trying to get the word out for people to be cautious, since they said it was 70 large dogs," an official in the district south of the capital, Seoul, said by telephone.

The official, who declined to be identified, said the district office had erred on the side of caution by issuing the alert based on the initial witness report, in case the animals proved to be a threat to the public.

A second alert issued 20 minutes later said only three dogs had escaped from the farm and had been recovered.

A police officer stationed in the area confirmed the "not very large" animals were all back at the farm.

Hundreds of farms in South Korea keep dogs, but in this case the animals appeared to have been pets or working dogs.

(Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Ed Davies and Clarence Fernandez)