Thirty-nine dogs have died in Chiayi County since Monday, allegedly due to heat exhaustion, after 70 dogs and a cat were loaded into a vehicle designed to carry just 20 animals, leading to the head of a local animal agency and other personnel being demoted.
A Chiayi Livestock Disease Control Center veterinarian transported the animals to a local private shelter on Monday, but 26 dogs — 13 adults and 13 puppies — were dead on arrival at the shelter, despite resuscitation efforts.
The death toll rose to 39 yesterday, with the dead animals being cremated following a religious ceremony.
Originally kept at a public shelter and facing euthanasia, the animals were to be admitted to the private shelter.
Videos and photographs of veterinarians and shelter workers trying to resuscitate dogs that lay motionless at the shelter went viral on the Internet, sparking public outrage at the center’s apparent negligence.
“Today is the saddest day since the shelter’s establishment. A car carrying dogs to be euthanized arrived at the shelter, but a volunteer was shocked by what he saw when he opened the trunk: Cages in the car were overcrowded with dogs. Some were already dead and those still alive were dying,” Hsu Wen-liang (徐文良), a shelter worker and brother of the shelter’s owner, wrote on Facebook.
“The shelter only agreed to take in 15 adult dogs and several sick puppies, but the center sent 70 dogs and a cat without informing the shelter. Who gave the order?” Hsu wrote.
The center on Monday apologized over the incident, saying a glitch with the vehicle’s air conditioning and hot weather caused temperatures inside the vehicle to rise too high, resulting in the death of the animals.
However, Chiayi County Commissioner Helen Chang (張花冠) visited the center and inspected the vehicle. She found that the car’s air conditioning was functioning properly and therefore attributed the incident to the center’s crowding of animals into a small, poorly ventilated space, adding that the animals should have been transported separately instead of in a single trip.
Chang said the county government would establish a standard operating procedure for animal transportation to protect animal welfare, while center director Wong Yo-chu (翁有助) and the veterinarian driving the vehicle have been demoted.
Shelter owner Hsu Wen-hui (徐雯慧) said that, despite the demotions, problems would still exist if the center continues with its present method of operation, adding that allowing animal rights campaigners to be involved with the center and public shelters would improve operations.
SEE CAMBODIAN ON PAGE 6
Indonesia has sent hundreds of riot police to a tiny island after protests broke out against a China-backed project that would displace thousands of residents. About 1,000 people protested in Batam City on Monday over a plan to develop Rempang island into a Chinese-funded economic zone, including the construction of a multibillion-dollar glass factory, that would displace about 7,500 people. Some protesters clashed with security forces outside a government agency, wielding machetes, Molotov cocktails and stones, police said, adding that dozens were arrested. Beijing has poured money into infrastructure and resource projects in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy and its investments have previously caused
CALL FOR PEACE: Czech President Petr Pavel raised concerns about China’s military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait and its ‘unfriendly action’ in the South China Sea The leaders of three diplomatic allies — Guatemala, Paraguay and Palau — on Tuesday voiced support for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN on the first day of the UN General Debate in New York. In his address during the 78th UN General Assembly, Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr urged the UN and all parties involved in cross-strait issues to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful resolution. “The well-being and prosperity of nations and their economies are intrinsically linked to global peace and stability,” he said. He also thanked partner nations such as Taiwan, Australia, Japan and the US for providing assistance
‘HARASSMENT’: A record 103 Chinese warplanes were detected in 24 hours, posing severe challenges to security in the Taiwan Strait and the region, the ministry said Taiwan yesterday told China to stop its “destructive unilateral actions” after more than 100 Chinese warplanes and nine navy ships were detected in areas around the nation. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) described the number of warplanes detected in 24 hours as a “recent high,” while Beijing has so far refrained from issuing any official comment on the sorties. “Between the morning of September 17th to 18th, the Ministry of National Defense had detected a total of 103 Chinese aircraft, which was a recent high and has posed severe challenges to the security across the Taiwan Strait and in the region,”
CROSS-STRAIT CONCERNS: At the same US Congress hearing, Mira Resnick said a US government shutdown could affect weapons sales and licenses to allies such as Taiwan A Chinese blockade of Taiwan would be a “monster risk” for Beijing and likely to fail, while a military invasion would be extremely difficult, senior Pentagon officials told the US Congress on Tuesday. Growing worries of a conflict come as China has ramped up military pressure on Taiwan, holding large-scale war games simulating a blockade on the nation, while conducting near-daily warplane incursions and sending Chinese vessels around its waters. US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner said a blockade would be “a monster risk for the PRC [People’s Republic of China].” “It would likely not succeed, and it