In April 2015 our investigation department received a report of a dog being kept in inappropriate conditions. The small Yorkshire terrier mix had apparently been kept in a cage for at least 10 years, and had never been given the opportunity to leave the cage. During our visit, we found the dog to be very dirty, with severely matted fur and extremely overgrown nails. The cage and the dog were absolutely filthy from his excrements. This dog appeared to be very nervous and showed serious stereotypical behaviors (constant swaying and circling), a reaction to long-term stress, and would bark non-stop when anyone got close to his cage. TSPCA inspectors, with the assistance of the Taipei Animal Protection Office, had the dog’s owner relinquish him to TSPCA after months of negotiations. Furthermore, the owner of the dog was in clear violation of the Animal Protection Act Article #33-1, and is now no longer allowed to keep dogs or adopt from shelters.

The dog’s owner stated the reason the dog was kept in a cage 24/7 for ten years was to prevent him from running away and that the reason the cage was full of excrement was because he only had the time to clean the cage once every 3 days due to his busy schedule. After long discussions with our inspectors, the dog’s owner still insisted he was too busy to offer any more care to the dog than what he was offering at the time, and even felt his dog was well cared for.  He didn’t recognize that the dog was in dire need for medical and emotional care and didn’t seem bothered by the dog’s stereotypical behaviours and insisted he was much to busy to provide the dog with daily exercise and cleaning.  It was very obvious to our inspectors that the dog’s owner didn’t understand the basics about animal care and was completely oblivious to the dog’s complex physical and emotional needs.

In June of 2015 the dog, renamed Miguo, was surrendered to TSPCA and immediately taken to the vet for an in-depth health check. The initial examination found that Miguo had some very serious medical issues, including; heartworm, corneal ulcers, dislocated knee joints and cirrhosis of the liver. After one month of treatments, Miguo’s heartworm and corneal ulcers improved considerably however his knee issues could only be solved by surgery, sadly Miguo is already too old for a general anesthesia. As for his liver, the vets suggested a more conservative treatment of liver supplements and medication due to his age.

This is a clear case of neglect, owning to utter ignorance on the part of Miguo’s former owner, which has affected Miguo’s entire existence. TSPCA greatly appreciates all citizens who report cases like this to us, and gather photographic evidence and clear details, which entails us to proceed with our investigations smoothly and quickly. Although this case of long-term caging has already resulted in irreversible harm to Miguo, at least he is now able to live out the rest of his life free from his cage. After having being discharged from the hospital, Miguo is healthier and no longer circles and sways, indicating a decrease in stress. Miguo is currently living in foster care, but still needs a loving home to care for him in his final years. Taiwan SPCA appeals to the public; before deciding on keeping a dog, be sure you have sufficient knowledge, time and money to properly care for your animal companion to prevent more cases like Miguo from happening.

To learn more about Miguo’s story and to see case photos, please click the following link: http://www.spca.org.tw/3185926524-miguo.html