Sat, Aug 17, 2013 - Page 12 News List

The Benji case

The Australian representative to Taiwan is suing a local veterinarian for fraud

By Enru Lin  /  Staff reporter

“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.

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