Legislator Huang Wei-cher of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party yesterday urged the government to rigorously implement its registration policy for household pets.
Huang, who called a press conference at the Legislative Yuan to call attention to the problem, said that the government currently only requires pet registration for dogs but that an increasing variety of pets are being kept by Taiwan people, including cats, lizards and snakes.
He expressed concerns that such pets could represent a hole in the public health network, saying that if any such pets are carriers of an infectious disease and are lost by their owners, they could pose a threat to public health.
Noting that currently, the total number of cat owners in Taiwan is not necessarily lower than the total number of dog owners, he also urged the government to require that cat owners register their pets.
In addition, he called for the standardization of the specifications for chip implants for pets, pointing out that the government has given approval to two chip manufacturers to produce such chips but that the specifications of the two firms' chips are not compatible, which he said could pose problems if pets get lost or if owners decide to change their pet registration information.
Speaking at the same press conference, Chu Ching-cheng, a section chief of the Animal Industry Department under the Council of Agriculture, said that around 1.1 million domestic dogs are currently implanted with chips, but he added that the implanting of chips in dogs in rural areas still has to be stepped up.
Chu also said that although cats have yet to be included in the compulsory registration, cat owners are urged to get chip implants for their pets.