TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Pingtung County Magistrate Pan Men-an (潘孟安) announced on Monday (Dec. 6) that he is leaning towards putting an American pit bull terrier up for adoption after animal rights groups and netizens lobbied him to spare the animal after it had mauled a young boy to death.
At 7 p.m. on Dec. 2, a three-year-old boy from the Indigenous Paiwan tribe was fatally bitten by a pit bull when he wandered into his neighbor's yard in Pingtung County's Chunri Township. The dog's owner, surnamed Chiang (江), blamed himself for the attack and released the dog to Pingtung County Agriculture Department officials, who placed it in a shelter where its fate was uncertain.
On Dec. 3, Yen Hsing-chuan (顏杏娟), head of the Taiwan Dog Lovers Association, posted a video of the dog acting very docilely and freely allowing a trainer to pet its head. Over the weekend, dog lovers flooded Pan's Facebook page, pleading with him to spare the dog from euthanasia.
Pan on Sunday (Dec. 5) responded to the comments by saying, "Every life has the right to exist, and the death of a three-year-old child is a tragedy, but regardless of the emotion and rationalization, we must eventually return to the law for the final judgment." On Monday (Dec. 6), he was cited by UDN as saying that as the judicial investigation is underway, that the dog is being kept in a shelter and that after legal matters are settled, the county government is considering putting it up for adoption.
Pan called on "friends who love furry children to not flood the page again with more comments." He said that the stance of the county government is very simple, "humans and animals must be protected," with care and sympathy provided to the victims and shelter and even adoption arranged for the animals.
According to an initial investigation by the Pingtung County Agriculture Department, the dog's owner failed to register his pet, violating Article 19 of the Animal Protection Act (動保法), which could result in a fine of between NT$3,000 (US$108) and NT$15,000, reported FTV News. In addition, the canine was not neutered, a breach of Article 27 of the law, likely resulting in a fine of NT$50,000 to NT$250,000.