Taiwanese pet owners warned to keep animals warm or face NT$15,000 fine

Pet owners in Taiwan who do not take steps to keep their furry friends warm during the winter could face a fine of up to NT$15,000

Kittens cluster in front of heater.

Kittens cluster in front of heater. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- As the first cold surge of the winter blasts Taiwan, the Tainan Animal Health Inspection and Protection Office yesterday (Jan. 10) reminded pet owners that if they fail to take measures to keep their cuddly critters warm, they could face a fine of up to NT$15,000 (US$500).

Tainan's animal protection office made the announcement on its website in response to reports of owners leaving their dogs tied outside or under sidewalk roofs without any shelter from the cold winter weather. The office said that owners who have been found to be not providing adequate protection for their animals will first be given a warning and instructions on how to better care for them by an animal inspector.

Article 5 of the Animal Protection Act stipulates that the owner of an animal must provide a safe, clean, ventilated, drained, and appropriate shelter for it, which is also properly lit and is maintained at a temperature range suitable for living. If an owner is found to be not complying with recommendations given to improve the care of their pet after the initial warning, they can be levied with a fine of between NT$3,000 to NT$15,000.

An animal health inspector said that there are many ways to keep pets warm, with the simplest option being taking the animal indoors during cold spells. If this is not possible, their cage should at least be covered and contain warm bedding.

The inspector also suggested owners provide clothes for their dogs, especially short-haired breeds and older canines to provide more warmth. As for cats, owners need to monitor them as they may seek warmth in dangerous places such as under the hoods of cars. He advised owners to pat the hoods of their cars to make sure their cat is not still inside before starting the vehicle.

There was also recently a strange case of "dogs attacking a car" in Tainan, in which dogs tore off the fender, ripped up the wiring leading to the engine and left bite marks on the tires and rims. Security guards later discovered that the dogs were trying to get at a cat that was hiding inside the car for shelter and warmth.

The following are examples of how Taiwanese keep their pets warm captured by American photographer Andrew Haimerl (韓莫):