The Taipei Animal Shelter in Neihu District (內湖) should ease the 12-day adoption ban to lower the fatality rate of animals at the shelter, animal rights activists said yesterday.
Accompanied by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) and DPP Taipei City Councilor Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤), members of the Republic of Cats, Dogs and People (ROCDP) — a civic animal welfare group — made the call during a press conference at the legislature yesterday morning.
“Many benevolent animal lovers had tried to adopt sick animals [from the animal shelter] to help them get medical help. However, such efforts have been blocked by the 12-day restriction, which has resulted in the deaths of many sick animals,” ROCDP convener Huang Tai-shan (黃泰山) said.
Huang said the shelter imposed the 12-day restriction because of fears that disputes could arise if the original owners come to retrieve their pets within that period.
However, Huang said that on average, less than 10 percent of the animals at the facility are taken back by their primary breeders, implying that public officials working at the site are merely afraid of getting into trouble.
Wu said staff members at the shelter insist that animals can only be adopted after 12 days of arriving at the shelter, although the place is already packed with stray cats and dogs.
“For the past three years, the mortality rate at the shelter stood at as high as 33 percent on average. Has the animal shelter turned into a morgue instead?” Wu asked.
As the Council of Agriculture itself does not impose a 12-day ban, the animal shelter could require adopters to sign a “return affidavit” promising to give back the adopted animals if they are asked to, Tien said.
“Besides, the majority of those who adopt strays from the shelter are animal lovers, who are least likely to refuse to return the animals,” Tien added.
Taipei City Animal Protection Office chief Lu Meng-hsian (陸夢賢) said the office had already launched a scheme called the “Animal Sitter” in May last year, under which animal welfare groups and volunteers are entitled to temporarily adopt younger animals from the shelter or those that are in poor health.
Lu said that since Friday last week, the policy was expanded to allow ordinary people who sign a return affidavit to adopt mongrel dogs within the 12-day period.
The policy does not apply to purebred canines, Lu said, citing several past incidents when purebred canines were adopted only for reproductive purposes.
Lu added that adoption could only be carried out after the dogs had been neutered.
Chu Ching-cheng (朱慶誠), interim deputy director of the council’s Animal Husbandry Department, said he supported the city government’s policy on having adopters sign return agreements to prevent post-adoption altercations.
As for having the animals neutered prior to adoption, he said he respected the city’s decision.