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More animal adoptions this year: COA

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Over 25,000 stray dogs and cats were adopted across Taiwan between January and June, boosting the adoption rate higher than the same period last year, the Council of Agriculture (COA) was quoted by a local news outlet yesterday.

The United Evening News yesterday published an article, saying that Taiwanese people have raised their awareness of animal protection. The COA said that 39.9 percent of sheltered animals were adopted between January and June of last year, adding that 51.8 percent of stray animals were adopted in the same period of time this year.

The public animal shelters across the nation have temporarily held 48,474 stray dogs and cats in the first half of this year, the COA said, noting that 4,000 more stray dogs and cats have found new owners compared with last year.

The COA said that the increasing adoption rate was likely the result of the documentary “Twelve Nights” — a film that records the life of stray dogs in animal shelters — that has raised people's awareness of stray animal issues.

New Policies Boost Adoption Rate

The council said, on the other hand, the government has relaxed requirements and administrative work in animal adoption procedures, and there are also numerous ways for people to adopt animals.

COA official Lin Tsung-yi (林宗毅) said the government carried out a new policy to increase people's willingness to adopt stray animals, which is to offer free spaying and neutering, vaccine injections and pet microchip registry for the pets.

Lin said the executive branch also established an animal adoption “platform” on the Internet and requested all public shelters to register the animals' information on the platform. People can search the dogs or cats that they want based on the information on the platform and make direct contact with the public shelter, Lin said, adding that this platform speeds up adoption procedures.

The COA said it expects there will be over 50,000 stray dogs and cats adopted by the end of this year, exempting them from being euthanized in overcrowded shelters.

Civic Group's Concern

Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) Director Chen Yu-min (陳玉敏) said she thinks Taiwan's adoption system is still immature. Chen said most of the public shelters are located near public cemeteries or waste yards, noting that an inappropriate location for an animal shelter will lead to unprofessional shelter management and adoption procedures.

Chen said a professional evaluation of adopters should be required before an adoption can take effect, noting that this procedure will prevent adopted pets from being abandoned a second time.

The COA responded to Chen's concerns, saying that as the pets will have a microchip inserted before adoption, if the pets are abandoned after the adoption, the owners will be fined between NT$15,000 and NT$75,000 in accordance with the Animal Protection Act.

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