Wed, Sep 30, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Air Force confirms puppy report but denies pampering

PAWS FOR CONCERN? A colonel allegedly took advantage of his rank to request that a soldier be transferred to his office to look after his pet dog

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Air Force yesterday confirmed a newspaper story that a colonel at its Tainan Base had been keeping his pet puppy at the site, but denied that the colonel had forced a soldier to take care of the dog.

“There is no rule that says pets are not allowed inside a base, but we have decided to ask troop leaders not to have puppies on site from now on,” a press release from the Air Force Command Headquarters said.

DISGRUNTLED

The press release came in response to a story in yesterday’s Chinese-language Apple Daily that said the paper had received a tip-off from a disgruntled soldier that a colonel, identified by his surname Sun (孫), had been keeping a Japanese shiba inu at the base.

Sun took advantage of his rank to file a request to headquarters asking that a soldier be transferred to his office to care for the dog, the Apple Daily said.

The soldier that complained to the paper said this was a waste of military manpower.

The colonel kept the puppy at the base until reporters approached him for comment.

‘EXCLUSIVE SERVICES’

The soldier said most military units were already short-staffed because of a policy change that had reduced manpower.

The colonel had nevertheless requested a soldier to “offer exclusive services to his puppy,” the soldier told the paper.

The Air Force confirmed that Sun had been keeping a dog at the base, but denied that he requested an additional soldier to take care of the dog. The Air Force said Sun covered all the dog’s expenses out of his own pocket.

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