The Taipei Times reported recently that in 1999 I used my special allowance fund in adopting a stray dog and that I later reimbursed the fund for those fees ("Mayor's spending habits attacked by city councilors," Sept. 29, page 3).
The fact of the matter is that I was participating in an event on Aug. 1, 1999, jointly organized by the Council of Agriculture and the Taipei City Government, to promote the adoption of stray dogs, which then numbered around 55,000 in Taipei.
The Animal Disease Control Institute (ADCI) of the city government's Department of Economic Development arranged for Council of Agriculture Chairman Peng Chao-kuei (
Peng and I both signed up for the adoption, but the ADCI took the two puppies back for observation first, because stray dogs normally carry a variety of diseases.
Peng's adopted dog died 10 days later; mine had a high fever and other serious health problems and had to be hospitalized for 10 days.
On Sept. 2, 1999, my wife went to the ADCI to bring our dog home. When she asked to pay the bill, which was NT$9,900, ADCI officials told her that they would ask the mayor's office to take care of the expenses that were incurred by implementing an official policy.
The mayor's office in turn asked the accounting office whether the special allowance could be used. The response was affirmative, because the event was an official one organized by the city government and an agency of the central government. But I was not consulted and remained until recently under the impression that the bill had been paid by my wife.
Although the use of the special allowance was perfectly legal and legitimate, my wife and I decided to give NT$9,900 to the Department of Accounting and Statistics because we believed from the start that we should pay for the adoption of the dog. Because the spending of the NT$9,900 from the special allowance was audited and approved six years ago, there cannot be any reimbursement, and so our NT$9,900 will go toward the budget for the year 2006.
I am writing to request that, when you next refer to this case, please make sure to state that my use of the special allowance before the adopted dog was brought home was for official business and was both legal and legitimate and that I paid for all the expenses of my dog afterwards, and that I nevertheless repaid the city seven years later.
(Editor's note: Our initial story ("Ma admits to dog handling mistake," Sept. 24, page 1) on this issue included Mayor Ma's explanation of how he acquired the dog and how he repaid the city government.)