Citizens Call for an Amendment on Animal Welfare Act

Chacha was a Tabby cat which lived in a market. It was beaten and poured boiling water by its owner. Rescued after being tortured for 13 hours, it was severely injured and lost its eyesight. It passed away 11days after being admitted to hospital. (Source: Facebook)

Chacha was a Tabby cat lived in a market. In October 2019, it was adopted by a couple. The couple later broke up, which also gave a miserable life to Chacha. On 18 August, the male owner beat Chacha with an umbrella three times. He then poured boiling water onto Chacha. Chacha peeled off and bled. The abuser even recorded the entire process and sent it to his ex girlfriend.

The police and volunteers broke into the scene in the evening to save Chacha, who unfortunately passed away 11 days later. Why did the police stand outside the door for so long and let Chacha be abused for 13 hours? Why was the abuser only lightly punished, but was later charged with criminal offense due to media and public pressure?

The case of Chacha reminds the public to call for the establishment of animal police and harsher punishments on animal abusers. The petition met the threshold of official responses. The government is required to respond on or before 27 October. Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) urged the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health and Welfare to sign off the owner screening system on animal adoption and an information exchange platform of violence on animals respectively. All these proposals aim to avoid similar cases in the future.

Lawyers suggested that the punishments for such behaviours should be 1-7 years imprisonment and a fine between NT$300,000 to NT$5,000,000. The World Dog Alliance (WDA) doubts if mere harsh punishment is enough to stop such crime. Indeed, the Animal Protection Act was amended in 2017 with increased punishments as follows.

Article 2525.1 A jail term or penal servitude under two years, in conjunction with a fine over NT$200,000 and under NT$2,000,000 will be imposed for any of the following situations:25.1.1 Killing, deliberate hurting, or causing injury of an animal in violation of Clause 5.2, Article 6, or Clause 12.1 resulting in mangled limbs, or vital organ failure of the animal.25.1.2 Violation of Clause 12.2 or Clause 12.3.1, namely killing a dog/cat or an animal banned from slaughter as declared by the central competent authority.
Article 25-125-1.1 A jail term of no less than one year and up to five years in conjunction with a fine over NT$500,000 and under NT$5,000,000 will be imposed on a person in serious violation of Clause 5.2, Article 6, Clause 12.1, Clause 12.2 or Clause 12.3.1with drugs or fire arms to cause death of multiple animals.25-1.2 The competent authority may publicize the offender’s name, photo and facts about any offense described in Article 25 or Clause 25-1.1.

It is a shame that there has been no successful prosecution since the amendment, meaning that animal abusers never receive imprisonment over 6 months. Most of them only received a fine.

Legislator Lin Yi-hua suggested that the government should authorise police and other animal rescue teams to break into apartments or vehicles in suspicion on animal abuses.

The WDA believes everyone will support the above mentioned suggestions.