Taipei will soon become the first city in the country to set up a police unit to exclusively handle cases of animal abuse, the city government said yesterday.
Taipei City deputy police commissioner Chen Chien-fa (陳建發) said 28 police officers will be selected from the city’s 14 precincts next month to man the new unit.
Taipei City Councilor Dai Hsi-chin (戴錫欽) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), who has long advocated establishing an animal protection police unit, said the proposed group would be an informal task force rather than a new formal division of the department.
Establishing a division, he said, requires the potentially time-consuming step of amending the law, and the city government felt that the police needed to be involved in animal protection without delay.
“Without the help of the police, it is almost impossible to prevent animal abuse,” Dai said.
The councilor touted the move as a major step forward for the country in animal protection, and he suggested that the new police unit might even be the first set up in Asia.
According to the city’s Animal Protection Office, more than 400 animal abuse cases were reported between January and July this year.
However, as members of the office and private animal protection groups do not have the legal authority to make arrests or enforce the law, their animal rescue efforts are often hampered, officials said.
Animal protection office director Yen I-feng (嚴一峰) said at the Taipei City Council that people from animal protection bodies can conduct administrative investigations, but they may not be able to stop animal abuse even if they find something wrong at the scene of a case.
Chen, the city’s deputy police commissioner, said his department will train the newly recruited police officers assigned to the animal protection unit to familiarize them with related laws and professional skills.
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