Animal welfare campaigners yesterday accused the National Defense University (NDU) of shielding an instructor accused of animal abuse, and urged the university to dismiss employees convicted of animal cruelty to uphold the military’s reputation.
At a news conference in Kaohsiung, Animal Rescue Team Taiwan spokesman Ni Ching-tai (倪京台) played video footage of an NDU military training instructor, surnamed Lin (林), holding a cat by the neck before throwing it to the floor and kicking it.
The footage was provided by Lin’s ex-girlfriend, surnamed Shu (舒), the cat’s owner.
The cat allegedly lost two top front teeth in the incident.
Shu said that she and her daughter — and their four cats — moved into Lin’s home in a military complex in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投) in 2014, but the cats often suffered inexplicable injuries.
Shu installed surveillance cameras in Lin’s home last year, and in February, Shu said, Lin was captured abusing one of the cats.
She said Lin admitted hitting the cat — which he said was misbehaving — but he refused to accept any responsibility for the injuries to the other cats.
While Lin, a lieutenant colonel, was fined NT$15,000 for animal abuse by the Taipei Animal Protection Office, Ni said the university did nothing to discipline him and only gave a perfunctory reply to Shu, who filed a complaint with the university.
In the complaint, Lin was also accused of hitting his son and daughter on their heads with a cellphone.
In a letter to Shu, the university said Lin’s parenting skills would not benefit his children, and the university was encouraging Lin to adopt more positive methods.
The letter did not detail any disciplinary measures against Lin, saying that his state of mind and level of emotional control were normal, and he had already been punished for the animal abuse.
Ni, Shu and animal welfare groups expressed dissatisfaction with the university’s actions.
Ni said that the alleged violent incidents had done irreparable damage to the military’s reputation, but the university tried to settle the incident by claiming that Lin was emotionally stable, and did not conduct an investigation.
“The NDU’s reply was a mere formality. What are the grounds for the university’s judgement that Lin is emotionally stable? Whether Lin is eligible to teach should be determined by a faculty evaluation committee. I call on the university to investigate the incident,” Ni said.
“The incident was a case of severe abuse. Both of the cat’s upper front teeth were fractured, which is a major disability for cats. However, the office only fined Lin NT$15,000, which we believe was too lenient,” he said.
The university reiterated that the office had fined Lin for animal cruelty, adding that the university would take action against Lin if he violates university regulations.
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