The Taipei City Animal Protection Office has introduced a free insurance program for people who adopt dogs or cats aged seven or older in a bid to increase the adoption rate of strays at the city’s animal shelters.
The program, which applies to dogs and cats adopted since Jan. 1, covers medical bills, owner liability insurance and pet funeral costs for one year, the office said.
The office last year began offering pet insurance to those who adopt strays aged three to seven, and this year’s program is an extension of that, it said on Sunday.
“In the past, there were no insurance programs for pets and if they became sick, the veterinary bills could be very expensive. We hope this program would make more people aware of pet insurance options,” it said.
The program would cover up to 100 adopted dogs or cats per owner, it said.
If a pet requires a visit to the vet, the owner would pay a maximum of NT$1,000 per visit, up to NT$5,000 if the animals need to stay at an animal clinic and up to NT$10,000 for surgery, it said.
Most people who adopt strays are motivated by their need for a pet and offering benefits to potential owners would not substantially increase adoption rates, office director Sung Nien-chieh (宋念潔) said.
However, as adoption rates for older dogs are particularly low, and as people have expressed concerns about older dogs’ health, the office hopes that offering the insurance would convince more people to adopt older dogs, he said.
Older dogs are also often more affectionate toward their owners than younger dogs, contrary to popular belief, he said, adding that people who adopt older dogs would not need to worry about vaccinations, which would have been done already.
Those interested in adopting older dogs can sign up for the insurance program offered through the office at the shelters, he said.
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