One-third of the dogs confiscated from an abandoned breeding facility in Dulan (都蘭), in Taitung County’s Donghe Township (東河), will handed over to the individuals who have adopted them once the case clears the local prosecutors’ office, the county’s animal protection and inspection office said on Sunday.
Office section chief Chen Wei-lin (陳威霖) said that the office had received tips from people working near the breeding facility, adding that when officials arrived on the scene on Thursday last week to confiscate the animals, they found that of the 155 dogs originally listed at the facility, seven had died, and the rest were in bad shape.
The office said that the facility had originally been breeding purebred canines for sale, but it had evidently been abandoned for some time.
The dogs, most of them from highly sought-after breeds, had been neglected.
The office found the owner, surnamed Chen (陳), and charged him with negligent care, and had him sign documents relinquishing his ownership of the dogs.
Chen said in his defense that his son originally took care of the dogs, but that he and his son had not been in regular contact since Chen’s business took a nosedive. Chen said that he and his wife were old and had little money, so they could only afford to feed the dogs every other day.
However, officials said the dogs had not eaten for at least a week, and the office is charging Chen under the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法), which stipulates that pet owners must avoid actions that would malignantly or unintentionally harass, harm, or abuse their pets. Violations causing the severe injury or deaths of pets are punishable by up to a year in prison.
The office confiscated 148 dogs, including pomeranians, chihuahuas, papillons, Yorkshire terriers, Afghan hounds, setters, bulldogs, poodles, border collies, chow chows and rottweilers.
Chen Wei-lin said most of the dogs were worth between several thousand New Taiwan dollars and tens of thousands, adding that they would recover their health after two months of care.
The animal shelter has posted photographs of the dogs online, and as of Saturday, 50 dogs had been adopted.