Mon, Mar 03, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Dog owner could be charged after elderly man’s death

By Tseng Chien-ming and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The owner of a dog named Lucky may not be so lucky to have taken in the canine.

The resident of New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水) could face a manslaughter charge if authorities decide Lucky caused an elderly man to fall and hit his head on the ground.

The 88-year-old man, surnamed Hung (洪), was reportedly found bleeding from the head on the ground in front of his apartment complex on Feb 22.

He died after being taken to a local hospital.

Police officers reviewed footage from nearby CCTVs, which allegedly show Lucky bounding into Hung as he left the front door of his apartment building while the dog was headed outside.

Lucky, a mixed breed, is 65cm in height and 100cm from nose to tail and weighs 50kg.

Police say the preliminary cause of Hung’s death was severe trauma to the head, including hemorrhages.

“Due to Hung’s age, we have to wait for the autopsy results before determining whether his death was connected to Lucky,” the police said.

They said Lucky’s 59-year-old owner, surnamed Peng (彭), could be charged with manslaughter if the autopsy establishes a link between Hung’s death and the dog, and could face a prison term of six months to less than two years if convicted.

Hung’s daughter said the family plans to press charges against Peng.

Chou Chin-chuan (周錦詮), secretary of New Taipei City Government’s animal protection and health inspection department, said the office had offered assistance if the police felt it necessary to detain Lucky, or if Peng decided to give up the dog.

Peng said he was surprised Lucky had been implicated in Hung’s death, but that he would would responsibility for the accident if the autopsy establishes a link.

Lucky was a street dog up until four months ago, when Peng first gave it some food.

He said he decided to keep Lucky after deciding the dog was gentle and did not bark much.

In a statement to the police, Peng said he usually kept Lucky tied up and only occasionally let him out “for a breather.”

Additional reporting by Chen Wei-tsung

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