[Taiwan Spotlight] Friendly school dogs push animal protection education

The school dog “Coke” of Anxi Junior High School in New Taipei City is probably the most famous school dog in Taiwan, and it visits other schools frequently.

It’s not difficult to see dogs in European and American campuses, because teachers and students can bring their own dogs into classrooms and exchange experiences. Dogs are occasionally seen on Asian campuses, but most of them are stray dogs that accidentally break into the school. Fortunately, because of the kind policy, they can now stay in school and become a school dog. Taiwan’s “school dog” is even more happy. Not only can they apply for government living allowances, they also have a legally guaranteed status!

The change in the fate of stray dogs on campus in Taiwan originated from the amendment to the Animal Protection Law passed in 2015, which deleted Article 12 “After being notified or announced for more than 12 days without being claimed, adopted, or without proper disposal, they can be slaughtered.” Regulations, thus ending the policy of culling unowned dogs. Although this change can save the lives of more than 100,000 dogs each year, it also severely tests the load capacity of the animal protection administrative agencies and public shelters of counties and cities.

Before 2015, among nearly 4,000 middle, elementary and high schools in Taiwan, only 234 schools had school dogs. Therefore, the Council of Agriculture held the first school dog selection campaign in 2016. The theme was “it meets them”, hoping to promote the school dog-raising trend. In the same year, the Ministry of Education also implemented the “Subsidies for Local Governments and National and Private Senior High School Campus Care Animal Life Education Pilot Program”, which was officially subsidized In the form of funding, schools are encouraged to adopt or collect stray dogs and cats in public shelters, and each can receive a subsidy of 20,000 to 30,000 NTD.

2018 is an even more critical year. When the Legislative Yuan amended the Animal Protection Law, it added Article 23, “For the effective implementation of this law, the competent authority should prepare budgets year by year to promote the control of stray dogs, diverse and innovative adoption, working dogs, school dog programs, and to ensure the quality of shelter management and other animal protection related work”. The new article clarified the legal status of “school dogs”.

The Thai military academy has also accepted stray dogs as school dogs, where people and dogs get along well.

At the same time, the newly revised Article 4-1 “Governments at all levels shall popularize education and learning related to animal ethics and animal protection laws in order to enhance national animal protection knowledge and implement it in the 12-year national basic education curriculum.” Animal protection groups have seen an opportunity to promote the school dog project—isn’t school dogs a vivid animal protection teaching material?

School dogs are a part of campus life education, but how will school dogs be included in animal protection education? Some schools have made good demonstrations by letting school dogs enter the classroom and combine them with different courses in order to encourage these schools that have achieved results. The World Dog Alliance and the Taiwan Animal Protection Administrative Supervision Alliance have recently organized the “Them in the Classroom-2021 School Dog Excellent School Selection”, and will start the registration work from this (5) month. The results of the review will be announced in June and awards will be awarded in July. The selection photos of school dogs will also be displayed at the Nangang Pet Show to be held from July 9 to 11, 2021.

Despite the encouragement of the Council of Agriculture and the funding subsidy from the Ministry of Education, the growth of school dogs is still slow. According to statistics in 2019, only 48 schools have increased from 2015, showing that ordinary teachers have limited knowledge regarding the advantages of school dogs in education, healing, companionship. There is still insufficient knowledge of school dogs.

In fact, experts have long pointed out that both “school dogs” and “prison dogs” have great effects on dissolving negative human emotions. Simply put, school dogs can reduce bullying incidents on campus and help build a peaceful and friendly campus. , All have empirical data, it is worthy of teachers’ attention!