‘Zero mercy killing’ for strays to take effect Saturday

Taipei-- An amendment that bans animal shelters from killing unclaimed stray animals will take effect Saturday, but some have expressed concerns that animals could suffer if forced to live in even more cramped environments.

A revision to the Animal Protection Act passed in January 2015 deleted a clause that permitted the killing of animals held in animal shelters or in places designated by municipal or county authorities if they are unclaimed or unadopted for more than 12 days after a notice or public announcement.

The revision also included a clause stipulating that "zero euthanasia" of strays would be put into force two years later to give the relevant authorities time to prepare for the change.

Only animals diagnosed by veterinarians as suffering from a contagious disease or considered to be too ill to be cured can be put to death, according to the revisions.

Four municipalities -- Taipei, New Taipei, Tainan and Kaohsiung -- adopted several measures to prepare themselves for the implementation of the new rules, including subsidizing the neutering or spaying of pet dogs or cats or cooperating with schools to turn stray dogs into school dogs.

But Yilan, Hualien and Hsinchu have said it will be difficult for them to carry out the "zero euthanasia" policy because they have too many strays, shelters in those areas are often crowded and adoption rates are low.

Wang Hsiao-hua (???), director of the Kaohsiung Concern for Stray Animal Association, worried that while the new bill is aimed at respecting life, it could subject the strays to "another form of abuse" if animal shelter environments are not improved.

Wang said that after "zero euthanasia" takes effect, the requirement to implant chips in pets should be rigorously implemented, because otherwise the tendency to abandon pets could accelerate, and shelters will become even more crowded.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel