Animal protection group urges public not to discard pets

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Wed, May 01, 2013 - Page 4

The Taoyuan Animal Protection Association (TAPA) yesterday aired a promotional video in Taipei aimed at encouraging the public not to abandon pets and to consider adopting pets from animal shelters.

Entitled Starting or Ending?, the video tells the story of a mixed-breed dog named Misu that is abandoned by its owner at an animal shelter.

The video tries to convey the unpredictable fate of pets that are abandoned or sent to animal shelters.

“The government’s policy on stray animals has not been very effective, especially on the part of educating the public, so we hope this video can encourage more educational efforts,” TAPA executive director Teng Chiao-ling (鄧巧玲) said, adding that the association wishes to raise public awareness about the problems at animal shelters.

“‘I am moving away,’ ‘I’m getting married,’ ‘my parents said no,’ ‘it barks too much’ … there are so many reasons we hear from pet owners when they abandon their animals at the shelter,” Teng said. “When we ask them if they would abandon their family members for the same reason, they think it’s a different matter.”

Teng said many people do not understand what animals experience when they are sent to animal shelters.

The association’s volunteers have witnessed dogs showing pain from abandonment or showing fear before being put to death, Teng said, adding that they wish pet owners would think more before getting or abandoning an animal.

“We encourage people who want to keep a pet to adopt it from an animal shelter and we also remind them to think twice about the responsibilities that owning a pet may entail, rather than simply adopting an animal out of sympathy,” she added.

Talking with volunteers at the shelters can also help potential adopters understand the characteristics of an animal and find a suitable pet, a pet owner surnamed Hsu (徐) said.