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Taiwan's Taoyuan to get pet hospital amid 'fur baby' boom

Pet ownership in city follows nationwide upward trend

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A man rests with his dog in Taipei on Sunday. (Taiwan News, Jono Thomson photo)

A man rests with his dog in Taipei on Sunday. (Taiwan News, Jono Thomson photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taoyuan City will establish a public veterinarian hospital and other pet-friendly measures following a boom in the number of dog and cat owners over the past decade.

Government figures suggest there were 154,000 dogs and 87,000 cats registered in Taoyuan at the end of 2023, an increase of 163,000 compared to 10 years prior.

On Tuesday (Feb. 13) Taoyuan City Government said it plans to establish a pet management office and a public veterinarian hospital to provide services related to pet births, ageing issues, treatment for illness, and end of life care, per CNA. The pet management office will handle pet services such grooming, fostering pets, pet funerals, the sale of pets, and other pet related needs.

The city said the office and the hospital will be established as it continues to build more pet parks, each of which serves an average of just over 12,000 dogs each. It said that there are now 20 pet parks in Taoyuan, the second most of any city in Taiwan, behind New Taipei’s 22.

Pets have come to be known colloquially as "fur babies (毛小孩)” in Taiwan, and as Taiwan’s birth rate has declined over recent years, the number of pets owners has increased. Dogs and cats make up the largest groups of pet types respectivley.

According to government statistics, the number of companies operating in the pet market increased by nearly 30% between 2018 and 2022, while pet related sales increased by 46% in the same period.