The Council of Agriculture (COA) is to create a pet welfare division and pet ownership registry to improve animal welfare, council Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said yesterday.
Chen made the remarks at an event at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei to commend public schools for adopting and caring for stray dogs.
The council’s draft for the measures would be submitted to the Executive Yuan for approval, he said, adding: “Every life will be protected.”
The pet division is to govern matters connected to the welfare of pets, including births, deaths, diet and medical care, with each of the tasks being handled by a dedicated office, he said.
The pet ownership registry is to be modeled after the country’s household registry program, he said, adding that Taiwanese have an estimated 1 million dogs and 700,000 cats as pets.
Chen said that the council was also concerned that animals at shelters were not being adopted as much as the council had hoped.
Shelters on average take in 11,000 dogs and 7,000 cats per year, but only 7,000 dogs and 6,000 cats are adopted, he said, adding that even under a national no-kill policy, about 6 percent of the animals die in shelters.
New Taipei City’s Ansi Junior High School and Taoyuan’s Kuolin Elementary School received awards for taking care of stray dogs, event co-organizer Taiwan Animal Protection Monitor Network said.
Eight other junior-high schools and elementary schools were also commended for their roles in animal welfare.
Ansi Junior High School principal Chih Hsu-tai (池旭臺), who attend the ceremony with the school’s campus dog, Kele (可樂), said that the 11-year-old animal is a darling of the school.
Kele is a special member of the school community and brings joy to everyone, he said, adding that keeping the dog on campus is a powerful lesson for students in respecting life.
Chen Yi-chun (陳意淳), a teacher at Kuolin Elementary School, collected the award with its campus dog, Siaohu (小虎).
Siaohu was adopted after being found as a puppy at the school’s gate three years ago, she said.
Teachers created life education lesson plans that would revolve around Siaohu, she said, adding that the presence of the dog gave the classes a soul.
Many parents would show up during holidays just to see the dog playing with their children, which shows that campus dogs can help strengthen community bonds, she said.
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