Shelter for ‘rescued’ stray animals appalling: councilors
TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taipei City councilors were appalled by the living conditions of “rescued” strays at a Taipei animal shelter yesterday, in which hundreds of wounded animals lived in cramped, odious quarters and fought daily for limited food supplies.
The scene was hailed a gross violation of animal rights; with a 500-animal capacity, the Nehu Animal Shelter reportedly brimmed with nearly 700 cats and dogs.
City Councilors Hsu Shu-hua and Li Chien-chang inspected the shelter yesterday morning. According to Hsu, an average of seven dogs ate from one feeding trough, causing violent brawls to break out in the struggle for food. One dog was mauled so badly that even veterinary aid failed to save its life, Hsu added.
Another dog, a stray mutt named “Black Skin,” was seen sporting a fist-sized crater of a wound on his back; the exposed flesh was fissured and decayed. According to the city councilors, Black Skin was found by the Animal Rescue Team Taiwan (ARTT) recently, suffering from serious skin disease. He spent a total of three days at a veterinarian office before being released to the shelter. The diseased canine would not have lived long had the city councilors not intervened on his behalf.
The shelter cages were reportedly ratty with disrepair. The councilors pointed out that rather than replacing the cages with new ones, the shelter relied on volunteers to patch them up and reuse them again and again. The execrable environment was baffling as a lack of funds was not the issue. According to Li, the Taipei City’s Department of Animal Protection was upgraded this year, with over NT$22 million in provisioned budget. Around NT$12 million was allegedly spent on forming the ARTT — which included GPS-installed rescue vehicles — yet the most basic animal needs had been ignored as, in direct contrast to the high-tech capturing devices, the stray animals lived in deplorably inhumane conditions.
”It’s like using a luxury vehicle to chauffeur the animals to jail,” Li remarked.
Animal rescue team leader Lu Meng-hsien explained that with all the orders received from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to capture stray animals, a lot of the budget was going towards personnel costs.
Hsieh Chun-fa, director of the animal shelter, added that he had already appealed to the Council of Agriculture (COA) for NT$1 million to install partitions between the dog cages as means to improve their environment.
Meanwhile, Black Skin, with the help of volunteers and veterinarians, is reportedly on his way to recovery, though the large wound on his back has yet to heal. Those present lamented the ghastly and heartbreaking sight.
Caged dogs peer through the wires enforcing their captivity at the Nehu Animal Shelter in Taipei City.
The shelter was derided by Taipei City councilors yesterday for violating animal rights, with over 700
cats and dogs living in a filthy, 500-animal capacity space.