TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taipei has allocated a budget to subsidize schools in the city that adopt stray dogs or cats, as part of an animal protection program, according to a city government official. Starting this year, the city government will provide an annual subsidy of NT$30,000 (US$960) to elementary, junior high and senior high schools for each stray dog or cat that they adopt, Chung Te-hsin (鍾德馨), an official at the city’s Department of Education, said recently. The subsidy will be offered to cover the cost of food, shelter and veterinary care for the animals, Chung said, adding that additional funds will be provided if necessary. The statement came after lawmaker Wu Szu-yao (吳思瑤) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) late last year drew attention to the fact that only seven schools in the capital had adopted stray dogs or cats, the lowest rate among the country’s six special municipalities. In response, Chung said his department was aware of the issue and had launched a program in the second half of 2016 to encourage Taipei schools to adopt stray dogs and cats. Under the program, the city’s department of education works with the animal protection office to help schools adopt stray animals and have them implanted with microchips and also provides free rabies vaccines and treatment for parasite infections, he said. The department also held workshops in September and October to inform teachers about the care of dogs and cats in schools, Chung said. Since the program was launched last year, three schools have applied to have pets, bringing the total number of participating Taipei schools to 10 and number of animals to 15, he said.
The program is aimed at improving animal protection and reducing the number of stray dogs and cats in the city, according to the local government.