Wed, Jan 05, 2011 - Page 17 News List

Animal rescue center up for adoption
高雄流浪動物之家 待有緣人延續

Natasha Hodel, front left, poses with a group of volunteers during one of BARK’s monthly adoption events in this undated photograph.


Since Jan. 1, Befriend Animal Rescue Kaohsiung (BARK), an animal welfare group based in Kaohsiung, has been up for adoption. They are seeking applicants interested in taking over its operations.

On Nov. 24, 2010, Natasha Hodel and Chris Leroux, co-founders and co-executive directors of BARK, issued a notice saying that the organization is looking for new leadership. They published a resignation letter on public Web sites and on their Facebook page saying that from Jan. 1 they would no longer lead BARK’s activities. In an email to the Taipei Times, Leroux wrote “some volunteers have decided to step up to the plate already to keep some parts of BARK’s operation going. A group of volunteers will continue to operate a monthly adoption event and they will also continue with the pet sitting and adoption programs.”

In their resignation letter, the pair explained that “It’s time for us to move on. Taiwan is home to us now, but at the same time, it’s not our forever-home. We plan to leave Taiwan in the next year or two at the most and we need to concentrate on our future plans. And of course, we need a year or two to find a home for the animals under our care. We have long been telling people to start early to try to find a home for a pet if they plan to leave Taiwan. We want to live up to that, too, and that’s why we need to plan a year or two in advance. It’s time to stop rescuing animals and to concentrate on finding homes for the animals we are currently responsible for. Those we care for directly and those living with foster families.”

The letter continues, “We helped many animals in Taiwan, but as much as we’d like to, we can not dedicate our entire life to helping animals here. We came to Taiwan, we help animals, and the time has come to move on to new horizons.” The fact that BARK is up for adoption has nothing to do with financial constraints or the Kaohsiung City Government.

According to the letter, Hodel and Leroux will still be working with animals over the next year or two despite their resignation. Hodel will still be trapping cats, and Leroux will continue to help local Aishin Mamas catch dogs and build wheelchairs for handicapped dogs.

In their resignation letter, Hodel and Leroux wrote that they started BARK almost five years ago and they’ve been busy working with animals every day since then. They have rescued and directly cared for over 50 animals a year. Since 2008, when they started a neutering program, they have neutered almost one thousand animals. They also produced a YouTube video, entitled “Farewell and Thank You,” showing a small sample of the many animals they were able to help with the public’s support.

Leroux stressed in his email that while the organization is up for adoption, BARK is not asking anyone to take over the actual care of any animals. In other words, whoever takes over BARK will start afresh with no animals to care for. They will also inherit a good truck, various sponsors, supporters, equipment, a Web site, donation boxes, a huge email list, and vet sponsorship among other things. For more information, visit




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