Sat, Feb 10, 2018 - Page 4 News List

More ‘heart’ needed to help no-kill shelters succeed

By Jonathan Chin  /  Staff writer, with CNA

No-kill shelters can be successful if local government heads “have a heart,” animal rights campaigners said at a news conference on Tuesday, which marked the first year of the policy’s nationwide implementation.

The success of no-kill shelters is not dependent on a large budget and staff, the Taiwan Alliance for Animal Rights Policy said, citing Council of Agriculture statistics for the average time strays stayed at shelters in various jurisdictions.

During the worst of the overcrowding crisis at animal shelters last year, Taoyuan shelters had an average stay time of nine months — the highest in the nation — followed by seven months in Chiayi City and Hsinchu County, and six months in Nantou, alliance executive director Ho Tsung-hsun (何宗勳) said.

However, shelters in seven jurisdictions — New Taipei City, Keelung, and Lienchang, Kinmen, Penghu, Hualien and Taitung counties — logged average stays of less than a month for strays, he said.

The council’s figures show that budgets and staff are not crucial to successfully implementing the no-kill shelter policy, as the cities and counties that performed well did not necessarily have more resources, he said.

“Whether local government heads have a heart is the crucial factor in making improvements,” he said.

Not having enough shelter space, many cities and counties have adopted the so-called “targeted capture” model of animal control, which has caused the stray animal population to increase, Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan director Chen Yu-ming (陳玉敏) said.

The experience of European nations has shown that managing no-kill shelters requires strict regulations on sales of pet animals and the legal obligations of pet owners, she said.

“Measures such as neutering pet cats and dogs, increasing public awareness of animal welfare and other forms of front-line management are crucial for the eventual success of no-kill shelters,” she said.

The government is focusing its efforts on assisting Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi and Nantou counties, which are lagging behind in implementing the policy, the council’s Animal Protection section chief Jiang Wen-chuan (江文全) said.

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