Owners encouraged to hand unwanted animals to shelters

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

Wed, Mar 02, 2011 - Page 2

Pet owners should give unwanted pets to animal shelters instead of abandoning them, the Taipei City Government said yesterday, warning that owners who abandoned animals could face fines of up to NT$75,000.

Taipei City Animal Protection Office Director Yen I-feng (嚴一峰) said the office had fined 35 owners for abandoning pets and collected fines of more than NT$487,500 over the previous three years.

The city government has been encouraging dog and cat owners to have their pets implanted with identity chips since 1999 to better trace the whereabouts of pets and attempt to increase pet owners’ sense of responsibility. People who fail to follow the regulations or abandon their pets will face a fine between NT$15,000 and NT$75,000 in accordance with the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法).

Yen said that once abandoned pets are found, the office would inform pet owners according to the registered information in the chips, and owners who did not claim their pets within 12 days and failed to provide a proper explanation would be fined.

Statistics from the office showed that the municipal animal shelter took in a total of 7,225 stray animals last year, of which 402 had an implanted chip. Yen said most of the pets abandoned on the streets were sick or old.

“Many owners abandon their pets because they do not want to take care of old and sick pets. We are hoping that imposing fines on those who callously abandon their pets will help them learn their lesson and treat their pets more humanely,” he said.

Yen said that because the chip-implantation rate remained low, in addition to continuing promotional efforts, the office would discourage people from feeding stray animals to stop their spread.

People can send unwanted animals to municipal animal shelters for NT$2,400 or to private animal shelters, he said.