Wed, Aug 09, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Authorities indict woman over theft of seized raccoon

By Tsai Chang-sheng and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Chen Mei-ling’s pet raccoon peers out of a pet carrier in an undated photograph in Hsinchu County.

Photo copied by Tsai Chang-sheng, Taipei Times

A Hsinchu City woman has been indicted for allegedly breaking her impounded pet raccoon out of a government shelter in November last year, the Hsinchu District Prosecutors’ Office said on Sunday.

The woman, Chen Mei-ling (陳美玲), and two male accomplices, surnamed Shih (史) and Chen (陳), were charged with violating Article 138 of the Criminal Code, which forbids damaging or concealing an object that has been entrusted to a civil official for official purposes, prosecutors said.

In March last year, a private facility run by Chen Mei-ling was closed down over suspicions of animal abuse, with inspectors reportedly finding starving cats eating a dead cat.

Animals at the facility were confiscated by the city’s Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office, prosecutors said.

On Nov. 5 last year, Chen Mei-ling and the men sneaked into the government shelter and retrieved the raccoon, which she took to her residence in Taoyuan’s Jhongli District (中壢), prosecutors said.

One of the men gained entry to the facility through a gap in the fence and opened the raccoon’s cage with a key that was stored on site, they added.

The next morning, the agency reported the break-in to the police, who launched an investigation, prosecutors said, adding that surveillance footage led police to Chen Mei-ling and the missing raccoon in February.

The two men have confessed to the crime, prosecutors said, adding that while Chen Mei-ling has admitted her actions, she denies having broken any laws, as she claims that the raccoon was her property.

Separate charges against Chen Mei-ling for animal abuse have been filed and are to be heard in court, they added.

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