“I very clearly told her that the dog will continue to be treated. The woman was thankful and she cried — literally, I saw tears. I found out later that she had been the primary caretaker for the dog,” said Yang.
AUSTRALIAN OFFICE RESPONDS
Earlier this month, Yang received a call from a staffer surnamed Liu at the Australian Office Taipei. “I didn’t know why she was contacting me. Then during our conversation I discovered that Benji belongs to someone at the Australian Office,” Yang said.
According to Yang, the staffer said Benji is one of two dogs adopted by a former Australian representative. When the former chief left on assignment to China, his replacement, Magee, inherited the dogs.
Yang later received a call from Magee himself, who requested a refund for the NT$8,500 paid for euthanization and other services, as well as a formal apology. Yang refused, saying that NT$8,500 is less than the expenses incurred for Benji’s full course of treatment. “We argued violently and he said he would take it to the police,” said Yang.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Australian office said that the case is a private matter involving the family of a staff member and that the office would not be offering comment.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade also emphasized the apolitical nature of the case. “This is a personal matter between Australia’s representative in Taiwan and another individual. It does not impact Australia’s relationship with Taiwan,” said a spokesperson in Barton, Australia.