Sat, May 18, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Hualien to build ‘dog paradise’

POOCH PROVISIONS:In addition to building a shelter for strays, the county is mulling offering subsidies for microchip implants and vaccinations for dogs, an official said

By Yu Tai-lang and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Hualien County Government is planning to spend more than NT$50 million (US$1.7 million) on the construction of a 17 hectare “doggie paradise” for stray dogs in an effort to transform the county into a more animal-friendly region.

According to the county government’s plans, the “doggie paradise” is to be built in Changciao Borough (長橋), Fonglin Township (鳳林), and is designed to accommodate about 10,000 stray dogs.

The project is under review by the Council of Agriculture, but the construction of the first phase, occupying approximately 1.96 hectares, is already under way, the county’s Bureau of Agriculture Director Chang Chih-chao (張智超) said.

Chang said that in the initial stage, the county government plans to bring in about 3,000 stray dogs and employ 67 administrative personnel and 11 veterinarians to take care of the animals.

“We plan to train some of these stray animals to be seeing eye dogs and to put the rest up for adoption,” Chang said.

Information on each dog in the shelter will be posted online and made accessible to the public to avoid mistaken captures and adoption of family-owned dogs, he said.

To further address the problem of stray animals, the county government is considering providing subsidies for microchip implants and vaccinations for dogs and is drawing up measures to facilitate the adoption of shelter dogs, Chang said.

Meanwhile, Hualien County Commissioner Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁) said the county government would promulgate regulations on environment maintenance to deal with the problem of dog droppings in downtown areas.

In addition, fines will be imposed on residents whose pets defecate in public areas and who fail to clean up animal feces found within a 2m radius of their homes, Hualien County Councilor Chang Cheng-chih (張正治) said, adding that various township offices would step up efforts to capture stray animals.

Commenting on the “doggie paradise” project, Chang Cheng-chih urged the county government to clarify the definition of “stray dogs” to avoid complaints from animal lovers.

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