Mon, Apr 06, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Taichung City pet owners abandoning groomed dogs

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A pet owner prepares offerings to a deceased pet at a columbarium for pets in Shenkeng, Taipei County, yesterday. Saturday was Tomb Sweeping Day.

PHOTO: CNA

An animal rescue organization in Taichung City said yesterday it had recently discovered a new phenomenon where freshly cleaned and trimmed dogs are abandoned on city streets.

“We suspect that because of the economic depression, people are disposing of their dogs, but want to ‘pretty the dogs up’ before dumping them to improve their chances of being adopted by new owners,” Animal Rescue Team Taiwan (ARTT) volunteer Antony Ni (倪京台) said yesterday.

In the Taichung area alone last week, Ni said his organization had rescued three such dogs.

However, the phenomenon is only part of a greater problem for abandoned dogs, Ni said.

“The number of all stray dogs [groomed or not] has doubled in the past few months. We now pick up 30 to 40 dogs a month just in Taichung,” he said.

More and more purebreds, such as beagles and huskies, are being spotted roaming the streets, he said, adding that most dogs abandoned are at least five years old.

Though owners may wish to feel better about dumping their animals on the street by making them look more attractive, Ni said most house pets have a slim chance of surviving on their own on city streets.

Even though they are nicely trimmed and smell of shampoo, all of the three recent rescued dogs suffer from one or more ailments, ranging from malnutrition to skin or blood diseases, and are currently being treated at an ARTT-affiliated animal hospital, Ni said.

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