Thirteen rescued animals were scheduled to fly to Seattle in the US yesterday as part of a cross-ocean adoption program, the Animal Rescue Team Taiwan (ARTT) said.
The 13 dogs and cats rescued in southern Taiwan’s Liouciou Township (琉球) were to be flown to the US to seek new homes, despite the recent rabies outbreak on the island, said Antony Ni (倪京台), a volunteer in charge of foreign adoptions at ARTT.
The stray animals were only required to be vaccinated and undergo health examinations before entering the US, as there have been no rabies cases reported among cats or dogs in Taiwan so far, Ni said.
However, the outbreak has affected domestic adoptions. Because of the outbreak, fewer Taiwanese are willing to take on new pets and more pet owners have abandoned their dogs and cats, Ni said.
Animal catchers have received a higher number of reports about stray animals since last month when rabies cases were confirmed, the volunteer added.
Ni expressed gratitude to animal welfare groups in the US for helping the group of animals find new homes there.
According to the Central Epidemic Command Center for rabies yesterday, four more cases of rabies infection in ferret-badgers have been confirmed on Friday, bringing the total number of confirmed animal rabies infections to 88.
As of Friday, 356 wildlife carnivore samples have been sent for rabies testing, 87 of which, all of them Formosan ferret-badgers, have tested positive for rabies.
All but one of the cases in 42 townships across nine counties and cities involved Formosan ferret-badgers.
Taitung reported a rabid Asian house shrew late last month.
The centers added that the health authorities of both Tainan City and Pingtung County, where new cases were found, have been and will continue putting efforts into immunizing the cats and dogs in the mountains, where interaction with wild animals are more likely to take place.
Additional reporting by Alison Hsiao