Taiwan immigration official apologizes after kicking airport sniffer dog

Taiwan NIA official apologizes for kicking airport sniffer dog at Kaohsiung International Airport

(Image from Facebook page 有點毛毛的)

(Image from Facebook page 有點毛毛的)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- An immigration official yesterday (Feb. 13) formally apologized for kicking a sniffer dog at Kaohsiung International Airport over the weekend, after a video of the incident appeared online.

At a press conference yesterday, the 46-year-old official from the National Immigration Agency (NIA), who is surnamed Chen (陳), bowed twice to reporters to apologize for what he described as "pushing" an airport sniffer dog named Jenna with his foot on Saturday (Feb. 9). Chen claimed that he had "pushed the dog away" after it leaned over his left foot, because he has had a fear of canines ever since he was attacked by one when he was a child.

However, written information provided by the NIA to the media and oral testimony by Head of the Border Affairs Corps at the airport, Tsai Ing-chieh (蔡英傑), both describe Chen as having "kicked" the dog. Tsai stressed that when the incident occurred, Chen explained the situation and apologized to the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ).

Chen (right) confronting Jenna's handler after alleged kicking. (Screenshot from Facebook page 有點毛毛的)

Chen had been injured by a dog during his youth and usually tried to avoid sniffer dogs, according to Tsai. On that day, he was in a confined space and was afraid of being bitten, prompting him to kick the dog, starting a confrontation between Jenna's handler and Chen, as captured on video.

The video was then posted on the Facebook group A Little Plush Pets (有點毛毛的) over the weekend. In the video, the handler is incredulously questioning how Chen could kick a dog that is serving to protect the nation, and Chen can be heard replying that, "I've always said from the beginning that I hate dogs."

Tsai said that because the dog handler was not scheduled to work the next day, it was not until Feb. 11 that Chen was able to provide food and snacks to the dog and apologize to BAPHIQ officials. Tsai said that steps will be taken in the future to further animal protection eduction.

Text reads, "I've always said from the beginning that I hate dogs." (Screenshot from Facebook page 有點毛毛的)

Tsai said that administrative sanctions have been imposed on Chen, and he has been transferred away from the Kaohsiung International Airport.

After a medical examination, veterinarians said that Jenna had not suffered any serious injuries from the incident, according to Tsai. Jenna is currently back on regularly scheduled duty at the Kaohsiung International Airport, added Tsai.

Chen could face of fine of between NT$3,000 and NT$15,000 for violating the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法).