Sat, Jun 30, 2012 - Page 3 News List

City shelter denies animal cruelty

’SLAUGHTERHOUSE’:The Taipei City animal shelter in Neihu said it has a death rate of only 32.4 percent, not the 46.4 percent which had been claimed by city councilors

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei City Animal Protection Office yesterday rebutted an allegation by Taipei City councilors that the average death rate at the city’s municipal animal shelter was 46.4 percent, saying the death rate was only 32.5 percent, the lowest among the nation’s five special municipalities.

Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City councilors Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏) and Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) on Thursday visited the Taipei Animal Shelter in Neihu District (內湖) to investigate after receiving complaints about the high death rate there.

According to Chien, of the 17,672 dogs and cats sent to the shelter from 2010 to May this year, 8,203 had died in the shelter, for an average death rate of 46.41 percent. In the 39 months from 2009 to January this year, 4,630 cats and dogs had been put to death at the shelter — which was about 118 animals each month, she added.

In the 22 days since the city council’s Financial and Construction Committee had requested a visit to the animal shelter on May 20, a total of 81 dogs and 37 cats had been put to death, with the additional deaths of 35 dogs and 161 cats, Chien said, adding that with such a high death rate, the animal shelter had become more of a “slaughterhouse” or a “palace of hell” than a foster home for strays.

Chien also questioned why several kittens sent to the shelter on Tuesday, based on the office’s public data, could not be found there, to which the office replied that it was because some of them were unweaned and had been put to death shortly after evaluation by veterinarians.

Taipei City Animal Protection Office division chief Lu Meng-hsian (陸孟賢) added that people should not give unweaned kittens to the animal shelter so readily: “They should take care of the kittens first, or leave them to parenting cats that may be nearby.”

The office yesterday said that from January to May, the shelter had accepted a total of 3,626 dogs and cats, and kept them for an average period of 32.7 days.

During the five-month period, the adoption rate was 46 percent, the natural death rate was 19.4 percent, the euthanasia rate 13 percent and 21.6 percent continued to live at the shelter, so the total average death rate was 32.4 percent, it said.

The office promised to shelter healthy animals for at least 30 days, to allow veterinarians to decide whether kittens should be implanted with a tracking chip for fostering, as it had been pointed out that implanting chips in small kittens might result in their death.

The office also agreed that animals would be euthanized in accordance with regulations and said it would invite animal welfare groups to participate in the process.

The shelter would henceforth be disinfected twice a week instead of once, the office added, while it asked for an additional budget next year for the neutering of animals, and for the purchase of incubators and other medical equipment.

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