TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After rescuing 14 golden retrievers from an illegal puppy mill, the Chiayi County Livestock Disease Control Center (LDCC) held a lottery on Thursday (March 3) to find them new owners from a pool of 1,380 applicants.
According to the Chiayi County Government, after the LDCC received a report about unauthorized sales and breeding of dogs late last year, its staff and the police discovered an illegal golden retriever puppy mill. Though the owner, surnamed Chen (陳), denied he was engaging in such activities, he was unable to tell the LDCC where he got the dogs, which were not registered or vaccinated.
The LDCC also found items such as oxytocin, fertilization tubes, microscope slides, and antibiotics on Chen’s property. It seized the dogs and fined Chen NT$233,000 (US$8,300) for violating the Animal Protection Act, a record high for Chiayi County.
Chiayi County LDCC staff members say the dogs are very friendly. (Chiayi County Government photo)
After news of the incident went public, the LDCC received so many calls from people all over the country looking to adopt the dogs that it decided to set up an online application to vet potential adopters.
Between Feb. 21 and Feb. 28, over 1,000 people registered for a chance to adopt one of the dogs. The LDCC excluded those who did not meet the eligibility requirements and ultimately reduced the number of adoption candidates to 1,380.
On Thursday, the golden retrievers were brought to the LDCC’s lottery event, where Chiayi County Magistrate Weng Chang-liang (翁章梁) personally drew the numbers.
Out of the 14 dogs, two are male and 12 are female, and they range in age from six months to six years. All of them have been spayed or neutered, and the county government reported that during their short stay at the LDCC, all 14 have proven to be very friendly towards humans.
The LDCC said that according to the Animal Protection Act, unauthorized individuals are prohibited from selling pets. Violators who breed, sell, or foster pets illegally may be subject to a fine of between NT$100,000 and NT$3 million.
Weng said that ultimately, the issue of stray dogs stems from owners not fixing pets and abandoning them. While animal protection groups and government entities make dedicated efforts to spay and neuter dogs, it is difficult for them to keep up with the rate that strays breed. He called on the public to adopt instead of buying dogs to avoid supporting inhuman puppy mills.
Chiayi County Magistrate Weng Chang-liang pets dog waiting to be adopted. (Chiayi County Government photo)