Thu, Feb 14, 2019 - Page 3 News List

National Immigration official says sorry for kicking airport sniffer dog

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

A sniffer beagle named Jenna walks on a leash at Kaohsiung International Airport yesterday.

Photo: Chen Wen-chan, Taipei Times

A National Immigration Agency (NIA) official yesterday apologized for kicking a sniffer dog on duty at Kaohsiung International Airport on Saturday after the dog handler posted a video of the incident on Facebook.

The 46-year-old official, surnamed Chen, is afraid of dogs because he was attacked by one when he was a child, said Tsai Ing-chieh (蔡英傑), head of the agency’s Border Affairs Corps at the airport.

Chen kicked the dog, a beagle named Jenna, at 11pm when it got too close to him, he said.

“Normally he would avoid sniffer dogs, but in that particular incident he was standing by a door and had nowhere to escape,” Tsai said.

Following the incident, Chen immediately admitted to his supervisor that he had made a mistake and deeply regretted his behavior, he said.

The agency has punished Chen for the inappropriate behavior and transferred him to prevent him from mistreating sniffer dogs again, Tsai added.

“Every immigration officer and sniffer dog is important in protecting Taiwan against the spread of African swine fever. We sincerely apologize for the incident and will work to make improvements,” he said.

Chen bowed in front of reporters to apologize for kicking the dog.

Seeing the dog approach made him raise his leg in panic, he said, adding that he had not intended to kick it.

However, the video footage shows Chen angrily arguing with airport staff after kicking the dog.

“You think it is just a dog, but it is working hard for this nation,” a dog handler tells Chen in the video.

“Do not talk to me about the nation. I just do not like dogs,” Chen replies.

When kicked, the dog yelped and appeared frightened, the dog handler wrote on Facebook.

“You do not have to like dogs, but bullying them is absolutely unacceptable,” he said.

Jenna was unharmed and was rested for two days afterward, officials said.

According to the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法), people who harass, abuse or injure animals could face a fine of between NT$3,000 and NT$15,000.

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