A ban on euthanizing stray animals is to be implemented on Feb.4 which would see abandoned pets or animals born as strays no longer being put to death if they are not adopted from government-run shelters.
Last year, about 70,000 animals ended up at the shelters and each year about 10,000 are put down when they are not adopted, while several thousand more die from other causes, such as injuries and illnesses.
The ban comes after the government has long been criticized for not doing enough to deal with the nation’s pet abandonment problem, but over the years, many unsung heroes have been quietly giving their time and energy to helping stray animals.
One of them, Briton Liza Milne, 42, has lived in Taiwan since she was 20. She works as an English teacher, but spends her spare time as an animal rescuer and volunteer at shelters run by non-governmental organizations that save and care for stray animals.
For about 11 years she has volunteered as chairperson, events and sponsorship coordinator and a rescuer at Animals Taiwan — a non-governmental organization that has saved hundreds of sick or injured stray dogs and cats — by finding them homes.
It also cares for up to 70 of them awaiting adoption at its shelter.
Last year, Milne also became a full-time volunteer for Mary’s Doggies, a shelter that rescues strays and finds homes for them in the US or Canada.
Council of Agriculture officials said they are increasing the budget for animal control workers to spay and neuter strays, as well as enforcing microchip rules.
All government-run shelters would require anyone who wants to abandon their pet to pay a fee, although the fee is relatively small in many cases, the council said.
Advocates say much more needs to be done to encourage pet owners to spay or neuter their animals and to fine them if they do not.
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