Although the Animal Protection Act was promulgated in 1998, the spirit of local self-governance has led to the expectation that counties and municipalities will follow the broad framework of the Act and deepen its content to make it more complete. The law is currently being developed in Pingtung County.
The first city in Taiwan to introduce the Animal Protection Autonomy Act was Taichung in July 2012, followed by Tainan in December. Both cities also proposed innovative measures in their respective years, with Taichung proposing the establishment of an animal welfare fund to make up for the lack of funding for animal protection, and Tainan creating an animal protection advisory committee, specifying that the formulation of animal protection policies should be considered by a committee comprising academics, officials and animal protection groups.
In fact, Taipei has had the Taipei City Animal and Dog Management Regulations since 1972, which was amended to the Animal Protection Autonomy Regulations in 2012, but the announcement was delayed until May 2015.
Both Taoyuan and Kaohsiung introduced the Animal Protection Autonomy Ordinance in March 2016, and both cities established an animal protection advisory committee.
The most remarkable achievement of the Kaohsiung Animal Protection Autonomy Ordinance was the passage of the “No Dogs and Cats” provision two years earlier than the Animal Protection Act: “No person shall sell, buy, eat or possess the carcasses, offal or food containing the ingredients of dogs or cats.” It was also used as a reason for the public to urge the central government to legislate.
In July 2016, Taitung County announced the implementation of the Wildlife Protection Autonomy Ordinance, and in November, Yilan County announced the Pet Management Autonomy Ordinance, which defines the scope of the autonomy ordinance as wildlife and pets, unlike other counties and cities.
In September 2019, Hsinchu City announced the implementation of the Animal Protection Autonomy Ordinance, which stipulates that the city government should provide suitable public areas in each administrative district for owners to bring their pets for activities and use; it also imposes a joint liability clause on the prohibition of eating dogs and cats, requiring employers to prevent workers from slaughtering, buying or eating dogs and cats in workplaces and dormitories.
New Taipei City, whose ordinance will come into effect on February 23, 2022, allows for six new measures, such as requiring dogs to be walked on leashes, veterinary clinics to take the initiative to report animal abuse cases, and specific pet traders to provide customized contracts.
In the future, it will be interesting to see if other counties and cities will show more advanced concepts and actions in the Animal Protection Autonomy Ordinance.