Pegatron chairman petitions for strays

PRIVATE HELL::Plans to phase out euthanasia without supporting measures could make life more miserable for stray animals at public shelters, Tung Tzu-hsien said

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Jul 19, 2016 - Page 5

Pegatron Corp chairman Tung Tzu-hsien (童子賢) last week urged the government to draft a set of complementary measures before implementing the amended Animal Protection Act (動物保護法) next year, in a bid to prevent more abandonment of strays, and animals ending up in worse conditions at privately run shelters.

The amendment to the act, which was passed by the legislature at the beginning of last year, came after the release of the documentary Twelve Nights (十 二夜), which detailed the plight of stray animals in public shelters.

The amendment bans the practice of “12-night euthanasia” — which sees strays put down after 12 days if no one adopts them.

Tung praised the good intentions of the amendment, but said that without complementary measures, the revised law could make the life of stray animals more miserable.

Since the passage of the amendment, many public shelters have started to transfer strays to private shelters instead of euthanizing them before the amendment takes effect next year, Tung said.

However, many of these private shelters are already full, and the animals are kept in worse conditions than at public shelters, he said.

In April, a truck loaded with 70 stray animals went from a public shelter in Chiayi County to a private shelter in Tainan. Nearly half of the animals suffocated to death during the journey as the truck’s air conditioning was allegedly broken.

This is an example of what can happen if the practice of euthanasia at public shelters is suspended without a set of complementary measures in place, Tung said.

In addition, pet abandonment might increase, as the government would no longer allow public shelters to put down animals, Tung said.

To prevent the situation from deteriorating, Tung urged the central and local governments to take note of the measures the Tainan City Government has put in place, including facilitating the implementation of TNVR — trap, neuter, vaccinate and return.

Tainan stopped euthanizing shelter animals last year. The animal death rate from natural causes at public shelters in Tainan was 5.97 percent last year, compared with Taipei’s 6.61 percent and Kaohsiung’s 27.27 percent, according to data released by the city governments.

By following Tainan’s example and allocating a slightly higher budget while using resources appropriately, Taiwan could stop euthanizing animals without any negative consequences, Tung said.

Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) was quoted by the Chinese-language Business Weekly as saying that the city spent nearly NT$23 million (US$718,211) handling 15,000 stray animals from 2011 to May.

The stray animals were implanted with chips and vaccinated before being released instead of being placed in shelters, Lai said.

The number of stray animals in Tainan fell by nearly 50 percent to 1,729 last year from 3,225 in 2012, Lai said.

The city has also trained more than 4,000 stray dogs and helped them find homes at local farms and fish farms over the past few years in an effort to increase the adoption rate, Lai said.