More than 300 animal rights advocates protested outside the Council of Agriculture building yesterday, calling on the government to improve the quality of animal shelters.
According to the activists, more than 1.14 million dogs have been caught and sent to animal shelters over the past 12 years, but more than 960,000 never made it out again. They added that the shelters are like hell for animals.
The protesters shouted “[Husbandry Division Director] Hsu Kuai-sheng (許桂森), come out !” as they clashed with police and tried to climb the gate to get inside the council building.
Most of the country’s shelters are poorly managed, conceal information from the public and harbor infectious diseases, advocates said, and because of their rules, the public has no way of overseeing their operations.
In a petition, the animal welfare advocates urged the council to recognize the problem diseases were playing in the nations 38 public shelters and to increase funding to deal with the issue.
“Most of the previously healthy cats and dogs become afflicted with various diseases after they are sent to shelters. This is a kind of cruel murder,” they said.
They also urged the shelters to operate according to Public Animal Shelter Management Operation Procedures (公立動物收容所管理作業規範), which they said many shelters do not adhere to.
According to the advocates, many shelters often put animals to sleep even when they have microchips that were implanted by their owners to help identify them if they got lost.
“Many shelters don’t even have the technology to scan microchips, and the dog catchers sometimes catch dogs with collars,” a dog owner surnamed Lee (李) said. “This is murdering the dogs.”
The shelters are also often unwilling to treat wounded or sick animals, they said.
The advocates asked that information, such as the place and time of capture and the characteristics of a caught animal, be made public so that owners of lost pets could find them.
As for the regulation that dogs and cats without identification chips or collars cannot be adopted in the first 12 days after being caught, the advocates urged the council to review the law, saying that many animals are put down after 12 days without any chance of being adopted.
They also asked the council to put in place stricter regulations on dog catching and establish a mechanism to monitoring how animals are put down, as they said many illegal and brutal methods are still being used.