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City moves to charge hippo owner for animal abuse

City moves to charge hippo owner for animal abuse

Taipei, Dec. 29 (CNA) Municipal authorities in Taichung have decided to hand the death of a hippopotamus that suffered severe injuries while being transported to the district prosecutors office, which is expected to charge the owner of the exotic animal with animal abuse. A He, a star animal at the Skyzoo recreational farm in the central city, was found dead early Monday morning in a pond where it was being temporarily sheltered after jumping out of a moving truck Friday and then being dropped from mid-air while being transported a day later. The two-ton animal was said to be 32 years old.
The city will file charges against Skyzoo's operator for violating the Animal Protection Act because the owner failed to protect the hippo, said Wang Jiun-shong, director of Taichung's Agriculture Bureau. Wang, who said he is saddened by the death, also pledged to review his own department's conduct and the apparent lack of oversight that allowed A He to be subject to the conditions that ultimately doomed it. An autopsy is due to determine the hippo's exact cause of death, according to Wang. Last Friday, A He made headlines after it jumped from a truck and broke one of its legs while it was being transported from a temporary shelter in Miaoli to the Skyzoo recreational farm in Taichung, where it has been kept for eight years. It suffered yet another fall the very next day as it was being moved to a pond to recuperate. The accident occurred when a cable on a hoist broke and the container in which the hippo was being transported crashed to the ground from a height of 2 meters. A preliminary examination by veterinarians showed that the animal may have died from toxins in the blood caused by intestinal problems as a result of the injuries, according to the Agriculture Bureau. The owner is liable for a fine of between NT$100,000 (US$3,151) to NT$500,000 for A He's injuries in the first incident, not to mention the second incident and its death. (By Liao Jen-kwei, Sophia Chen and Elizabeth Hsu)