The Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office on Thursday decided not to prosecute a 24-year-old woman after the Council of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine found that false documents had been submitted for her pet rabbit, which was transported to Taiwan by an animal transportation service.
The woman, surnamed Kuo (郭), in January paid about NT$300,000 to fly her pet rabbit from the US to Taiwan via a service she found on the messaging app WeChat.
However, upon the rabbit’s arrival in Taiwan, customs officers discovered that the sex on its quarantine documents was different from that listed on its microchip.
The woman, a dual Taiwanese and US citizen, said she did not fill out any paperwork herself.
When customs officers told her that the information was incorrect, she pressed the animal transportation service to refile the documents, Kuo said.
The service seemed to be stalling, so she asked the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) for help, she said.
The AIT contacted the council, which then told Kuo that the quarantine documents were false.
The service said that it would refund her money, but did not say that the documents were forged, and shifted the blame, Kuo said.
Kuo’s attorney said that Kuo is simply a student with a deep bond with her pet rabbit, and there was no problem when the animal departed the US.
After Kuo received no response from the service after asking it to resubmit the documents, she took the initiative to seek help from the AIT, the attorney said.
If she had not done so, the bureau would have been unable to confirm the authenticity of the documents, proving that Kuo had no intention of committing forgery, the lawyer said.
Based on Kuo’s testimony and conversation records between her and the service, prosecutors found that Kuo had repeatedly asked the service to resubmit the documents.
Using these communications, and the e-mails between her and the AIT, prosecutors decided not to press charges, the lawyer said.
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