Thirteen dogs have boarded a flight to the US to find new homes there, in the latest attempt to save some of Taiwan’s many stray dogs, animal rescue workers said on Sunday.
The dogs were rescued from Kaohsiung City, where they were found to have been abused or suffering from illnesses, rescue workers said. The dogs were first taken by train from Kaohsiung to Taipei before boarding the flight.
There are sad stories behind every abused dog, said rescue worker Chang Ya-hui (張雅惠), who led four volunteers of the non-profit Animal Rescue Team Taiwan in accompanying the dogs on the train.
For example, she said, Andrew, one of the dogs who will be sent to Seattle, was covered with insect bites when he was found in Linyuan Township (林園), -Kaohsiung -County, while Irene, another abused dog who lost her eyesight, had suffered from serious skin diseases.
The group of US-bound dogs also included eight puppies that were abused by foreign migrant workers and were later rescued from an oyster harbor, Chang said.
While an increasing number of Taiwanese have become aware of the need to help stray animals, the adoption rate is still low, putting pressure on animal shelters with limited budgets to care for the dogs.
It is hoped that by taking the dogs to shelters in the US, their chances of being adopted will increase.
Since 2004, the rescue team has flown a total of 1,470 animals rescued in Taiwan to North America, by cooperating with similar organizations in the US and Canada.