TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A man in northeast Taiwan has been sentenced to 40 days in jail and fined NT$200,000 (US$6,480) for shooting his neighbor's American pit bull terrier, which survived the incident but is now partially paralyzed, reported Liberty Times.
A 48-year-old man surnamed Jen, who lives in the Dananao area of Yilan County, purchased a pit bull for his son a year ago, which they named Ya-mei (雅美) and kept chained to the shed behind their home. However, his neighbor, a 35-year-old man surnamed Lin (林), soon found that whenever he went out to collect his clothing from the clothesline, the dog would bark, lunge, and attempt to bite him.
Out of frustration, on Aug. 11 of last year, Lin grabbed an improvised shotgun and shot the dog. A steel ball fired from the weapon struck the dog in the abdomen and shattered its spine.
Ya-mei (left). (Internet image)
After discovering his dog had been shot, Jen rushed it to the nearest veterinarian. The dog survived its wounds, but its hind legs are paralyzed and now requires a wheelchair to move around.
Jen alerted the police, who obtained a search warrant the next day to enter Lin's home. Once inside, they found the illegal weapon and transferred the case to prosecutors.
Jen's wife admitted that Ya-mei was "fierce in nature" and said that it is true that it had "injured people by mistake" in the past. For that reason, she said her husband had chained the pit bull to the shed behind the house to avoid future incidents.
Gunshot wound sustained by Ya-mei. (Internet image)
However, Jen maintained that Ya-mei has a "loving personality," so he often let it run around in the backyard. When the incident occurred, Jen said that Ya-mei was chained up.
Lin's wife refuted Jen's statements by saying that Jen liked keeping a lot of dogs, but did not properly keep tabs on them. She said that Jen, whose home shares a backyard with hers, would sometimes chain Yamei close to their house without their permission.
Lin's wife said that on several occasions when her husband tried to collect his clothing from the clothesline, Ya-mei would pounce on him. She said that her husband grabbed the shotgun because he could not take any more harassment from the pit bull.
Wheelchair used by Ya-mei for mobility. (Internet image)
In response to the court's ruling, Lin's wife said "The penalty was too severe and we plan to appeal." Lin admitted that her husband's use of the shotgun was indeed wrong and felt very remorseful about it, but maintained that because the Jen family had failed to make any change after his many complaints, "he lost his temper."
Lin's spouse claimed the two sides had already reconciled in private and did not understand why a criminal judgment had still been handed down. She said the NT$200,000 fine and 40 days in detention were too excessive and that the family depends on her husband for their livelihood.
Lin has been charged with violating the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法), but his 40-day jail sentence can be commuted with an NT$40,000 fine.
Many netizens believe that the responsibility lies with the owner and that dogs should be properly handled. However, some also felt that violence is not the solution.