Police in Greater Tainan’s Cigu District (七股) are teaming up with local residents to track down an elderly man who has allegedly killed dozens of dogs with poison-laced food.
Twenty-three dogs have been found dead in the district since Nov. 10, all of which appear to have been poisoned, police officials said.
They said surveillance cameras captured a man, who appeared to be in his 50s, feeding what is believed to be toxin-laced fish to dogs, and they are now examining the footage for clues to his identity.
They said the suspect’s actions could be caused by a mental illness or perhaps revenge for having his property or person damaged by strays.
Democratic Progressive Party Tainan City Councilor Chen Chao-lai (陳朝來) visited the district on Wednesday to learn about the case, accompanied by police officers and employees of the city’s Animal Health Inspection and Protection Office.
Under Article 30 of the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法), people convicted of maltreating, viciously disturbing or inflicting serious injuries on animals, or causing their death, can face up to a year in prison.
Residents have reported a dramatic drop in the number of dogs in the district.
They said there used to be about 100 stray dogs and pets, but only a dozen are still around, opening up the possibility that more dogs could have been killed.
A resident surnamed Chen (陳) said that because the district was big but sparsely populated, people had developed a strong attachment to the street dogs.
“People often feed and take care of the animals, which in turn keep them company and help guard their doors,” he said, adding that no dog attack had ever been reported.
Three of the four strays that he used to look after were recently poisoned.
“The only survivor, nicknamed A-fu (阿福), is a picky eater, which is probably why it is still alive. However, I am too concerned about its safety to let it wander freely these days,” he said.
He has offered a NT$100,000 reward for anyone who helps catch the dog-poisoner.
Due to the number of dog deaths, local residents could not follow the Taiwanese tradition of setting the bodies of deceased animals adrift on rivers, so they cremated the animals and scattered the ashes around trees to commemorate their passing.