Spate of reports in Taipei about cat-killing dogs raises concern

Amid concern that animal abusers might be unleashing dogs to hunt and kill stray cats in Taipei at night, the Taipei City government said Thursday that it has received 85 such reports this year.

City government officials are now checking these reports to see if any of them overlap.

According to animal protection volunteers, car drivers and motorcyclists have been spotted taking the dogs into lanes and alleys in Taipei on rainy nights. When a cat has been targeted, the dogs attack, inflicting fatal injuries to the feline.

The volunteers said that after the cat has been killed, they hear the sound of a whistle, at which point the dogs run off. The dogs do not bark throughout the process, making the volunteers suspect that the animals have had their vocal chords removed and have been trained to kill and are not simply chasing the cats.

Police said that when they were investigating one case in the Xinyi District in September, they found a man surnamed Chen, aged 55, who was surrounded by dogs.

Chen claimed that he was a cleaner and that the cat was chased because it came too close when he was feeding stray dogs. He denied purposely setting the dogs on the cat.

However, the police were not convinced, and sent the case to the Taipei Prosecutors Office for further investigation.

The Animal Protection Office also rounded up six dog "suspects" and sent them to an animal shelter.

"They will be examined by veterinarians for professional assessment to discover if they have been trained to hunt, which could help shed some light on the reported abuses," the office said.

Nevertheless, dogs killing cats, mostly feral cats, have still been reported in Neihu, Datong, Zhongshan, and Xinyi districts over the past two months, it said.

The office said that due to the limited manpower and resources of the government, the authorities have to rely on the public in their efforts to solve a lot of the cases. It urged members of the public to report any evidence they collect on the 1999 citizen hot line.

In view of the number of reported incidents, Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan Director Chen Yu-min (???) said that the government should not treat such reports lightly, adding that if dogs were to start attacking people, it would certainly create panic among the public.

Chen warned that those who unleash dogs to kill cats are in violation of the Animal Protection Act and subject to up to one year in prison and a fine of between NT$100,000 (US$3,177) and NT$1 million.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel