A number of illegal dog breeding operations have been found in local communities, with some even severing dogs’ vocal cords to stay under the radar, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilor said yesterday, urging the city government to strengthen measures to clamp down on illegal dog breeding.
In Taipei, there are only 50 registered pet shops with licenses to sell dogs and other pets, while about 400 pet shops are not authorized to do so.
DPP Taipei City Councilor Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) said many more illegal breeding operations are hidden in residential communities that sell dogs to pet shops or regular customers.
“It’s a common practice for these backyard breeding operations to cut dogs’ vocal cords to keep them quiet. However, Taipei’s animal rescue team has handled such illegal operations and abuse of animals passively,” she told a press conference.
Taiwan Cats and Dogs Association director Huang Tai-shan (黃泰山) said most dogs in the backyard breeding operations are seriously abused, citing the example of a pomeranian and a schnauzer he brought to the press conference, whose vocal cords were cut by illegal breeders before they were rescued by the association.
“These two dogs are also in poor health because of non-stop breeding and many of the illegal breeding operations abandon such dogs. These breeding operations are not only running an illegal business, they are also guilty of animal abuse. The city government should take more action against them,” he said.
Hsu said the Taipei City Animal Protection Office had received 221 complaints about illegal dog breeding operations since 2010, but the rescue team had only fined 34 operations for violation of the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法).
The law stipulates that people who harass, abuse or hurt animals or cause their death can face a fine of between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000. Authorities can also publish names and pictures of abusers as a punishment.
Taipei City Animal Protection Office director Yen I-feng (嚴一峰) acknowledged it was difficult for the rescue team to clamp down on the sale of dogs from backyard breeding operations, as rescue team members cannot enter a private property without legal permission.
Yen said the office would seek the cooperation of civil groups and the police to eliminate illegal dog breeding businesses.