British woman in Taipei faces legal battle over rescued stray dogs

The long-term Taiwan resident is facing a legal dispute with the Animals Taiwan organization over the registry of chipped stray dogs

Liza Milne at a dog shelter (Image used with permission)

Liza Milne at a dog shelter (Image used with permission)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A British woman who has lived in Taiwan for over 20 years, and who is a former board member of Animals Taiwan (台灣動物協會), is facing a legal dispute and possibly heavy fines due to her previous work with the organization.

Because of Milne’s work rescuing strays, and government regulations that demand chipped animals be registered with individuals rather than organizations, Milne may be facing a lengthy court battle with Animals Taiwan, and fines of over US$30,000.

During her time as a board member of Animals Taiwan, Milne selflessly allowed the organization to use her ID when bringing in stray cats and dogs to be chipped, since the organization was legally unable to do so.

Although she ceased her involvement with Animals Taiwan in late 2016, she has now unexpectedly found herself in a legal dispute with the organization and the government.

Milne allowed animals to be chipped under her name as a matter of convenience, and out of concern for the stray dogs and cats that the organization was dedicated to caring for.

Overcrowding at animal shelters means that many shelters regularly take in strays brought in by animal rescue organizations which are spayed or neutered, then chipped and released.

A lack of space and resources forces the rescuers to return the spayed and neutered animals to the area they were found. This is done simply as a means of reducing the stray population without causing undue harm to the living animals.

More than a year after she left Animals Taiwan, Milne found out that the organization had not transferred the ownership registry of the chipped animals out of her name, as she reportedly asked them to do on multiple occasions before and after leaving the organization.

There are now over 100 animals registered under Liza Milne’s name, many whose whereabouts are unknown, and many that Milne has never seen.

The issue was brought to a head when a stray dog that had been chipped under her name was reportedly killing cats. After the matter was reported to the police, the dog was found to be registered to Milne, and again somehow the dog was released or escaped from holding at a government shelter sometime in late 2017 or early 2018.

It was only after gathering information about this case that Milne discovered that Animals Taiwan had completely neglected to transfer the registries of all the animals from Milne’s name to individuals with the organization.

Milne has since been trying to negotiate with Animals Taiwan and law enforcement officials. The organization is reportedly taking no responsibility for the chipped animals, and the police say that Milne is responsible for up to NT$15,000 (US$500) fine for each of the 75 animals registered under her name (approx.US$38,000).

Liza Milne has said that all she ever hoped to do was offer love and care to the animals in Taiwan who have no one to care for them. Now she is simply hoping for a quick and fair resolution to the dispute.

Milne's case may also raise some questions concerning government regulations regarding ID chips for strays and the current rules established for the ownership registry.

Liza Milne (Image used with permission)