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Sat, Dec 16, 2000 - Page 2 News List

Net reunites pets with families

LOST FRIENDS Working with the city government, a group dedicated to caring for abandoned pets is using the Internet to help save animals from being put to sleep

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

A puppy rests on a laptop computer at a conference yesterday to announce the launching of a Web site established by the Help-Save-A-Pet Fund Taiwan and the Taipei City Government.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

A private organization yesterday teamed up with the Taipei City Government to launch a Web site to help reunite pet owners with lost pets and to provide a venue for prospective pet owners to adopt stray animals.

The Help-Save-A-Pet Fund Taiwan (流浪動物之家基金會) yesterday launched its Web site which includes, among other things, information on stray animals temporarily housed at the city's Taipei Municipal Institute for Animal Health (台北市動物檢驗所) and its commissioned veterinary hospitals.

The Web site, which is updated every day, posts information on each animal for a period of seven days. If, after that period, no one shows interest in adopting the animal, it will be put to sleep.

Taipei Deputy Mayor Bai Hsiu-hsiung (白秀雄), who adopted a dog via the Internet yesterday, encouraged the public to take advantage of the service.

"Modern technology has made locating lost pets more convenient. People no longer need to place a lost-and-found ad in the newspapers, nor make the effort to post flyers around their neighborhood to locate their lost pets," Bai said.

Lily Wang (汪麗玲), chairman of the foundation, said that the organization's ultimate goal is to see no stray dogs on the street.

"Dogs are living creatures just like you and me. If you treat them well, they'll repay your kindness more than you can imagine."

Wang, who started to care for stray dogs 13 years ago, formed the foundation in 1994. It keeps about 500 stray dogs on its approximately 3,300m2 lot in Taipei County's Kungliao (貢寮) township. The land is on loan from one of her best friends.

Holding his dog in his hands, Jeff Locker, an entertainer and the spokesperson for the activity, said the problem of the city's stray dogs is due to people's negligence.

"[The problem] lies in the people," he said. "Before you decide to keep a pet, you must realize that it's a lifetime commitment. You just can't abandon a pet because it's no longer cute."

The city currently has an estimated 18,000 stray dogs.

Since the Animal Protection Law (動物保護法) went into effect in November 1999, the Taipei Municipal Institute for Animal Health said it has had significant success in bringing the city's stray dog population under control.

Statistics show that Taipei's dog adoption rate was the highest in the nation -- up from 16 percent in 1998 to 35 percent in 1999. The 1999 neutering rate for domestic dogs also ranked the highest in the country -- reaching 30 percent.

The institute also says the number of stray dogs put to sleep is the fifth-lowest among the nation's 23 counties and cities -- about 800 per month or 10,000 per year.

For more information, visit the foundation's Web site at http://www.hsapf.org.tw

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