Animal rights advocates and Taipei City councilors yesterday accused Taipei City’s Animal Protection Office of delaying the rescue of a stray dog last week and condemned the office for what it said was poor handling of animal abuse cases.
Members of the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan found a wounded stray dog at the riverside park under the Huazhong Bridge on Friday last week. The dog’s head had a deep knife wound and it died of its injuries after it had been rushed to an animal hospital in Wanhua District (萬華).
Association director Chen Yu-min (陳玉敏) said she called the Animal Protection Office on Saturday morning to report the animal abuse case, but failed to reach anyone who could handle the case until late in the afternoon.
“The two animal protection staff who were dispatched only took a few pictures at the site and weren’t very enthusiastic about trying to find out who the abuser was,” Chen told a press conference at Taipei City Council.
The Animal Protection Office was short of manpower on Saturday as staffers were busy organizing a pet parade.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Hsu Shu-hua (?? said the office should have devoted more efforts to animal rescue work, especially since it had been upgraded and allocated more budget and resources.
“Searching for abused animals and finding the abusers should be the office’s main priority, but so far most of the work is still done by animal rights groups,” she said.
The Taipei City Government upgraded the status of the office three months ago to show its determination to promote animal rights and earmarked NT$20 million (US$630,000) in extra funding.
Lu Meng-hsian (陸孟賢), a division chief, yesterday denied the accusations and said the office had sent out staff and an animal rescue vehicle immediately after receiving the call.
Insisting that the office was continuing to collect evidence in order to find the abuser, he accused Chen and the association of “shifting the focus of the issue” by refusing to give the office the body of the dog so that an autopsy could be performed.
“We need the body for further evidence collection, but the association has refused to cooperate. Without witnesses and enough evidence, it is hard for us to find out who killed the dog,” Lu said.
Chen denied Lu’s accusations, admitting she had kept the dog’s body in a refrigerator, but adding that she did not hand over the body because staff that came to the office had failed to explain the procedures of handling the case.
Hsu demanded the office be more proactive when addressing the growing number of animal abuse cases.