Saturday, September 22, 2007

Wasai--- Who let the dogs out?

I was visiting the National Tsing Hua University campus this past May and was perplexed by the many stray dogs that were walking through campus. Actually, I wasn’t sure if these dogs were strays or had owners. They walked through the cafeterias, begged for food by the tables, slept inside buildings and under any shade found on campus. There were dogs of all types and breeds, mostly mutts. One dog had a limp. However, I noticed they all had a collar on, and seemed to be well-taken care of. The oddest thing is that I only see these dogs within the campus. Rarely do I see them outside the downtown area or market place. Out of my disgust, I asked one of my friends who studied at NTHU about these dogs. She explained that there is a club on campus that takes care of stray dogs. They groom, feed, and vaccinate them so that they aren’t harmful to the campus students. The club even names each one of them. Due to the student’s care, the dogs are mostly well-behaved, quiet, and are very friendly towards people. The entire campus is their home. At my university (U.C. Berkeley), stray dogs stay as strays. No one cares about them, and dares not to go near them. We fear that the dogs have rabies, and make sure not to touch them. If the dog’s not on a leash, it’s bound to go to a city pound or animal shelter where they would stay there until someone adopts them. This was the first time I ever saw a student body taking care of stray dogs, as if they were their own. Now that I’m back on the NTHU campus, I’ve now come to have a certain fondness towards these dogs. If I were a dog, I’d like to live on the NTHU campus.

Submitted to Wasai Taiwan by: Caroline Ogasawara (Hsinchu)
Happily Strayed
Coming from the US, I'm not accustomed to seeing stray dogs out and about on the streets. Having had so many dogs as pets had helped me to learn that dogs in numbers can be aggressive and dangerous. Seeing them collecting in the vacant lots of abandoned night markets looking for scraps I didn't feel they were dangerous. I wondered why this problem goes unchecked. Is there an animal control officer? Is there a dog pound? Are people encouraged to have their dogs spayed and neutered? I wondered about all these things until I came across a dog pound. Seeing the tiny enclosures the dogs were cramped inside, it dawned on me that the free roaming feral mutts I had grown accustomed to throwing any scraps that I could spare were the lucky ones. The animal situation is a very touchy one for foreigners in Taiwan. Many western countries have a longer tradition of animal rights than they do of human rights. Seeing so many animals running around uncared for, some victims of car accidents that have injured them very seriously, touches us more than stories of human injustice. Sadly, if my own country had the same outlook and care for our human homeless as it does for the homeless pet population, we would be a better country.
Submitted to Wasai Taiwan by: Aaron Andrews (Taichung)
related vedio:

Dog abuse against all odds stray dogs

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