The TSPCA investigation department received a report of possible dog abuse near Zhonghe in January of 2015. According to a concerned citizen, the white dog had been kept in a private garage for a long period of time. Besides the fact that the dog was forced to stay outdoors during cold weather, the owner always fed inappropriate food, such as leftovers to the dog. Furthermore, the dog also had a suspicious untreated lesion on its stomach.

Our investigation revealed that XiaoMao (as the dog had been named) had been wandering the neighborhood for more than ten years. At times, nearby residents would take care of XiaoMao, although most of the time he followed the owner of the garage. When our investigator arrived on the scene, XiaoMao walked out of the house, and therefore was no evidence of him being kept outside, freezing. And as XiaoMao was unchained, the allegation of him being chained to the garage all the time could not be proven. Furthermore, XiaoMao had been fed the leftovers by nearby residents for a long period of time, not the owner of the garage, therefore it was concluded that he was not intentionally feeding the dog food waste.

At the same time, TSPCA veterinarian did a check up of XiaoMao and found three abnormal lumps. Two were later determined to be benign lipomas, while the third was unidentified. Despite the three lumps, XiaoMao was in perfect health. He was energetic and active. The owner said that XiaoMao had been taken to a vet before, and that the vet had stated that the tumors were benign. Our veterinarian also noted that it was not necessary to take XiaoMao to a veterinary clinic for further treatment, but did make certain medical recommendations to the owner about how to better care for XiaoMao:

  1. The owner should provide blankets to XiaoMao in order to prevent the lumps from rupturing.
  2. The owner should pay attention to the size of the lumps. If they grow at an extraordinary rate, XiaoMao should be taken to a vet.
  3. XiaoMao should stay in within a healthy weight in order to slow the growth of the lipomas.
  4. The owner should pay more attention to XiaoMao’s surroundings as there is heavy traffic in the area.We also provided the owner with our contact information so that he could contact TSPCA if he had any concerns about XiaoMao. In this particular case, no illegal activities were observed.

    In Taiwan, there are many different environments that dogs are kept in. Apart from normal city house-dogs and countryside guard dogs, stray dogs are also cared for by caring individuals. These dogs, sadly, do not have real owners. When accidents or illnesses occur, it is difficult to conclude who is liable for the medical costs or who is socially responsible. In the end if should something befall a stray dog (or cat) , the TSPCA recommends that all those feeding or caring for the strays gather to discuss the distribution of costs including those for medical treatment, transportation, and shelter.

    Legal Tips:
    Animal Protection Act
    Chapter II General Protection of Animals
    Article 11 -
    Feeders must provide necessary medical treatment to animals that are injured or sick.
    The medical treatment or surgery of animals, based on the health needs or management of the animal, shall be conducted by veterinarians. This provision, however, does not apply to an emergency, if the purpose is for a scientific application, or an instance publicly announced by a competent authority at the central level.

    Animal Protection Act, Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan R.O.C http://eng.coa.gov.tw/content_view.php?catid=8998&hot_new=8869