The Council of Agriculture’s Animal Industry Department yesterday said it will gather veterinarians and officials from local government animal disease control centers to discuss stray animal capture policies and rabies prevention at animal shelters.
With more than 40 cases of rabies infections in wild animals now confirmed, the council has instructed the strengthening of stray animal control, especially in mountainous areas where the rabid animals were found. However, the recent increased catch of stray animals by local governments and numerous cases of pet abandonment have raised concerns from animal protection groups about the killing of stray animals.
Animal Industry Department Director Huang Kuo-ching (黃國青) yesterday said the agency will invite the Taiwan Veterinary Medical Association and local animal disease control centers to discuss the situation.
According to current policies at public animal shelters, many animals are put to death if they are not adopted within 12 days. Animal rights activists have expressed concern that the increased number of animals being brought to the shelters will lead to animals being killed even sooner.
Huang said the discussions will focus on the capacity of current animal shelters and changes in the number of animals brought to shelters since the rabies outbreak, and whether temporary shelters should be established to avoid having to put animals down due to insufficient capacity at shelters.
Regarding the nation’s relatively low pet registration rate, he said the council will also encourage pet owners to register their pets when they bring them for rabies inoculations, and is also considering providing a subsidy to encourage pet owners to implant microchip registrations in their pets.