Saturday, 26 December 2009

Merry Christmas everyone, and a happy new year!
Have you made your new year's resolution yet?  Why not help the Taiwan's animals and become a Taiwan SPCA volunteer.  Please contact Beki at for more information.  The animals need your help!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

A big thank you to Matt Lewis, Kristen Bernarsky and all the people involved in making Movember - 'growing a mustache for the TW SPCA', into a huge fund raising success! Thank you to Kornell Academy in HsinChu and all the students and parents in the 3 classes that donated money to support the event - Dumbo Class, Minnie Class, and Bongo Class. All proceeds will go to support the medical bills of the animals we have rescued. A few people really can make a huge difference!









Wednesday, 2 December 2009

ABC-Animal Birth Control Campaign


  December is here which means it's almost time for Taiwan SPCA's first leafleting campaign to get under way! We are looking for as many volunteers as possible to help us pass out leaflets around Taipei starting December 17th. If you have a few free hours a week and would like to help promote animal welfare in Taiwan, please email Beki at for campaign details. Let's make our 2010 new year resolution one for the animals!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Hong Kong SPCA!

Nice and visible! Close to downtown area!

Newly renovated Cats Homing room!

Dogs area- resembling a park

Glass kennels-easier to clean/see the cuties!

Even in the city- an outdoors exercise area

Karen Mok Campaign- don't wear fur

We made a trip to the HK SPCA which has been established for 88 years. Their newly renovated facilities in Wanchai was very visible and relatively close to downtown. It has glass kennels which allow for easier cleaning and anxiety/noise control (Dogs see with their noses; therefore in glass-enclosed shelters, dogs are actually more alert and attentive rather than barking all the time. This is because they cannot smell anything, especially their other dog companions, which encourages them to use their other senses).

It was impressive to see the work that has gone into the planning of their homing areas. It was made to resemble a park with colorfully painted walls and spacious kennels. An exercise area is also something they insist on because dogs needs to release their energy; alot of times aggression or excessive barking is due to lack of exercise. 

We must thank Sandy and all the staff at SPCA that gave us a tour and was so helpful to us on such short notice!

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Blackie's 2nd visit to NTU Vet Hospital! Reconstruction in Action!



Blackie's visit to Dr. Yeh at NTU Hospital yesterday was promising. The Doc who praised how well behaved Blackie was has scheduled a blood test for Blackie next Friday and a Preoperative Computer-Assisted Model Planning on Sunday where they will take computer pictures of his facial and skull structure. If everything goes well Blackie will undergo his first surgery the following week where he will have his front teeth (which are protruding) taken out which will make his bottom jaw retract. Blackie's top snout however is missing almost all of his bone structure, and canines unlike humans can not have this re-constructed; however after the surgery Blackie will have a shorter snout which will allow him to eat and breathe more properly.

The Doc confirmed that Blackie was hit by a heavy object, but can not determine whether it was intentional or accidental because it has been too long since the incident. Blackie's skull was fractured but has healed on its own. Right now Blackie has gained around 2 kgs from approx. 12.5 kgs. Lets hope everything goes well for our brave little one Blackie!


Friday, 23 October 2009

Operation "Blackie's" Re-habilitation! Donation Details

How to help fund “Blackie’s” re-constructive surgery!

Direct Transfer:

ATM and Bank transfers can be made to:

Bank Code: 822 (Chinatrust)
Acct. No: 347-540207262

Thank you all for your generosity! We will keep everyone updated on the status of Blackie and his medical conditions. Lets hope he has a quick and safe recovery!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Pig Cruelty Case, Owner Given Warning Notice

The Taiwan SPCA was prompted to act on behalf of a three-year-old pig named Cheese kept in unsatisfactory conditions as part of a restaurant display in the Sogo area of Taipei. After speaking to the staff and manager of the establishment on several occasions but with no improvement in the pig's welfare, the case was reported to the Taipei Municipal Institute of Animal Health (TMIAH). Director Peter Yen investigated the case personally after already having other complaints from passersby distraught the pig's plight.

With a new inspector recently transferred from the city's police department, as well as a reporter from the Apple Daily, the TMIAH checked in once more on the undernourished, pacing porcine, and issued the manager of the restaurant with a warning letter to improve the pig's conditions within two weeks or face a fine and confiscation of the animal to the Taiwan SPCA.
The restaurant owner had not been aware that keeping a pig in a confined space with no food or water, company, or dirt to dig in, in all kinds of weather, was cruel, and in fact appeared to be very fond of the restaurant's mascot.

The Taiwan SPCA has provided the TMIAH and restaurant manager with a pig care sheet for reference and will continue to monitor this case.

Click on the title above for the Apple Daily report.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Taiwan's Animal Protection Law Enforced in Cat Torture Case

Click on the blog title to read the full story in the Taipei Times.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Mastering the Walk

Sadly, many dogs are abandoned or relinquished to shelters because they have developed behavioural problems. Often these issues crop up because the owner did not give the dog adequate training and exercise. As mentioned in the previous post, the walk is an extremely important part of caring for a dog and plays a huge part in making sure you have a happy, healthy dog with fewer behavioural problems to overcome. One reason why a dog isn't being walked often enough is that he or she may pull on the leash, making the walk a difficult and unenjoyable task for the person. But don't be fooled into believing that this means the dog has a problem; it's the human who needs to be trained here. Read on to learn how you can lead the walk and have your dog walking beside you like a show dog within minutes.

First of all, you need to make sure you're using the right equipment. Don't use a harness; this device just encourages the dog to get ahead and put all his weight behind pulling you. Instead, get a slip leash (do a Google image search). The pressure is to mimic a dominant dog squeezing the neck with his mouth, and, when done correctly, is a natural and gentle way of letting a dog know he is not in charge. Have it high on the neck as close to the ears as possible. Make sure it's on the right way (with the leash end first running over the top of of the dog's neck and then under - not the other way around). This ensure the leash will loosen when relaxed. 

Before starting to walk, have the dog on your left and relax the leash--you never want a taut leash, as this just creates tension and even aggression. You want to have a calm, assertive, confident attitude and body language, and a positive image in your head of how you want the walk to be - expect the walk to be like that and nothing else (dogs read your mind through your body language very easily).

Wait until the dog is calm and no longer trying to pull you to walk, then give a little tug and start moving forward. Imagine an invisible line that runs left-right in front of you. As soon as the dog passes that line (starts to walk ahead of you) you immediately turn 90 degrees to the right and give a quick, gentle tug to let him know you expect him to follow; he will. (90 degrees is better because you can easily tug him to the side but not so easily backwards.)

He will catch up and try to overtake again. Change direction, again 90 degrees to the right, and give a tug. Do not look at the dog when walking. Shoulders back, head up, focus on where you want to go and on leading the walk. Learn to know where your dog is from the what the leash is doing.

Do this changing-of-direction exercise again and again and you will soon notice that he isn't trying so hard to get ahead. Keep it up. Maintain a happy, calm, positive attitude, and ignore the dog. Act aloof; the dog will respect this and appreciate rewards more later. When you get the hang of it and feel more in control, start cutting him off to the LEFT. He'll fall behind and start anticipating your lead. Do a few more right turns, then left turns, then right turns again. You will notice that the dog starts to anticipate and follow your lead without first needing a tug.

Again, you always want a loose leash—tension in the lead is tension in the leader–follower relationship and also enables him to test his physical strength against yours. Relax your arms. Relax the leash (especially when he meets other dogs—but that's for another note). That's why the tug is so effective; it allows you to control the dog without creating tension or an opportunity to challenge by pulling back.

This whole exercise is a mind game. Dogs need leaders. If the leader isn't you, your dog will take on the role. By constantly showing him that he will always be BESIDE or BEHIND you, he will learn, happily and usually with a sense of relief, that it's his place to follow. The only way you lose this game is to give in. Stay focused on having a perfect walk with you leading a calm, happy dog and that's what will happen (with dog, as in life, what you think will happen will happen, so keeping a positive image in mind is essential).

Your attitude is KEY, so don't get frustrated. If you control yourself, you control the dog. Dogs know that someone who gets angry or who pleads is not a strong leader and they simply will not follow.

You can fix a bad puller in minutes doing this, even a strong one or an old one with a long history of pulling. It works. If it's not working for you, read the instructions again and see where you're going wrong. It's probably that you're watching the dog, tightening the lead, getting frustrated, or imagining it all going wrong—so DON'T!

Do this exercise in a quiet road or park, where you have space to keep turning. Once your dog is walking behind or beside you, you can start to walk in a straight line, but keep using tugs inwards (towards you) or upwards as soon as he starts to stray behind, left, or ahead, or try to sniff the ground or pay attention to anything other than the walk. Don't watch him; feel the direction your wrist is being pulled in and tug back. You are in control. He will like that. Once he accepts your lead, you can GRANT him more freedom, but make sure you take the lead again when needed or when heading home.

If you're walking and he gets a bit too excited again, you have several ways to take control again:

1. Just stop. Don't go anywhere until he's back in a calm state again. Ignore him completely until he is.

2. Do the change-direction exercise a few times until he's back in line.

3. Give a tug up on the lead and make a short, sharp sound to get his attention.

4. Give a touch or make a Tsst! noise to snap him out of it.

5. Push his flank (around his upper thigh/waist area). This is a dog way of asserting oneself. You can use your foot if easier. NEVER HIT—it's a light shove, to put his rear slightly off balance.

When the dog does play up, it's to your benefit, because it gives you another great opportunity to demonstrate that you will no longer allow such behaviour and will take control.

Once your dog is walking nicely behind or beside you, give small treats or praise. Speak in high, soft tones, and rub his side (not the head, which can feel like a threat, or the chest, which gets them excited). Let the dog know when you're happy and you will see more of that behaviour.

Stay calm and assertive, and it'll work like a charm and you'll have an easily controllable dog who is happy that someone else has finally relieved him of that stressful leadership role on the walk.

Leave comments below about how this worked for you. We look forward to reading how your walks are now fun and fulfilling for both you and your dog. 

Happy walking!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The Easy Way to Help Fix Most of Your Dog's Problems

Do you have a dog who barks too much? Is she a nervous or anxious dog? Does he have aggression issues? Is your dog chewing the furniture? Is she showing some kind of obsession? Does he go crazy when people visit? Does she have separation anxiety.

There is one simple thing you can do to help eradicate most of these problems: walk your dog more. It really is that simple.

A dog who is confined to an apartment or even a big yard is not fulfilling his canine needs. What makes a dog happiest is when he is migrating with his pack leader (that should be you, by the way), burning off energy, learning what lies beyond the boundaries of his home, stimulating his mind with all the new smells, sounds, and sights, and enjoying being part of a walking team. And after an energy-draining walk is the best time to make any obedience lessons more effective.

The Taiwan SPCA considers it cruel and irresponsible to not walk a dog. A dog who is confined too often, even to a large yard, is a frustrated dog. He will have an overwhelming need for stimulation, exercise, migration, socialization, and leadership (knowing his place in the pack, walking behind a good leader). But when these needs aren't met, all that energy, all that desire for stimulation, all that frustration at not knowing what lies beyond his den, and all that anxiety at not being reminded every day of his place as a follower in a pack will turn your dog into a nightmare. His energy will be released in negative ways, on destructive things, such as digging, or chewing, or will emerge as anxiety. He may seek stimulation from antisocial behaviour, such as barking or overexcitedness. And he might show that frustration through aggression.

The Taiwan SPCA recommends walking your dog for at least 45 minutes every day. By doing this, you will be helping your dog lose many of her issues, you'll be reminding her that she has a good leader who she can follow, and you will be experiencing one of the true joys of dog companionship: benefiting from taking time away from your own stresses to enjoy some peaceful time strolling in the open air with your best friend happily walking by your side. Walking your dog every day is great for you, too. Don't see it as a chore; see it for what it really is: a great stress-reliever. And thank your dog for helping you get outside more.

Try it. Set aside 45 minutes a day for you and your dog to step outside and enjoy a nice walk together. Notice how much better you both feel afterwards, and after keeping it up even for just a few days. And then start to notice how any unwanted behaviour starts to disappear. If you can do the long walk before leaving your dog alone for a long period of time, then he is far more likely to relax while you're gone. Remember: a tired dog is a good dog. Leave a comment here to tell us about the behavioural improvements you start to see.

And if you think you can't enjoy walking your dog every day because she pulls too hard on the leash, that is no excuse: our next post will be about how to have your dog walking beside you like a show dog in minutes. Stay tuned!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

The Asia for Animals Conference, January, 2010--Singapore

The Asia for Animals (AfA) conference is a must for anyone seeking to make a positive difference to the welfare of animals in Asia or any of its countries.

AfA brings together Asian animal-welfare groups and individuals as well as some of the biggest and best-known animal organizations on the planet for several days of informative presentations and discussion,  essential workshops, great networking opportunities, and a chance to help or be supported by people and groups who share your goals.

For more information about the conference, the topics, and dates, explore the AfA site by clicking on the title of this blog post, or by visiting

The conference is held entirely in English.

We'll see you there!


Dog-keeping in Taiwan: its contribution to the problem of free-roaming dogs

A very interesting study, done in 2001, that seeks to find why there are so many stray dogs in Taiwan. If the length of it puts you off, take a look at the opening paragraph (pp.1 - 2) and the conclusion (pp. 19 -20). This is a must-read for anyone who wants to fully understand the issues surrounding dog abandonment in Taiwan, know a little about the history of local stray welfare, and have an idea of the likeliest solutions to the problem.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

The Five Freedoms

The Taiwan SPCA believes that anyone responsible for the care of animals should provide them where at all possible with the Five Freedoms. These basic principles of animal care may not always be achievable, but we believe they should be aspired to. An animal recovering from life-saving or otherwise essential surgery, for example, may not be completely free of pain nor be free to behave normally. However, animal keepers, be they farmers, pet stores, animal shelters, individuals, or anyone else, should aim to provide those animals in their care with the Five Freedoms as far as is possible.

1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst
By giving the animals ready access to fresh water and enough species-appropriate food to keep them fit and healthy

2. Freedom from Discomfort
By making sure the animals have the right kind of environment for them, including shelter and a comfortable place to sleep

3. Freedom from Pain, Injury, and Disease
By preventing the animals from getting sick or injured and getting them prompt veterinary attention if they do

4. Freedom to Behave Normally
By making sure the animals have enough space and the right environment to move naturally, and to have their natural social needs met

5. Freedom from Fear and Distress
By making sure the animals' treatment and conditions do not cause mental suffering

The Five Freedoms can be better provided for the animals if those responsible for their care practice the following:

  • Considerate and responsible planning and management
  • Skilled, knowledgeable, and conscientious animal care
  • Appropriate environment design
  • Mindful handling and transportation
  • Humane treatment at time of euthanasia or slaughter
It is a goal of the Taiwan SPCA that all animals in Taiwan be provided the Five Freedoms whenever possible and be treated and cared for accordingly.

The Taiwan SPCA main website will be providing a series of guidelines on animal care for different species, from cats, dogs, and rabbits, to lizards, spiders and goats. Please contact us ( if you are an expert on a particular species that is often cared for in Taiwan and would like to write the information sheet for that animal. 

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Heartworm: Keeping your dog healthy

One of the more prevalent canine diseases in Taiwan and also one of the most debilitating is heartworm. Spread by infected mosquitoes, heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that lives most of its adult life in the right ventricle of the heart, causing serious disease if not treated. Studies show that roughly 20 percent of dogs who primarily live inside and 60 percent of dogs who live outside will become infected if not receiving preventive medicine.

Heartworm has the most debilitating effect on active dogs. The first sign of infection is coughing or breathlessness, particularly after exercise or at night. Severe weight loss and fainting may follow.

Infection can be determined by a simple blood test that most vets in Taiwan can perform, and it is highly recommended that your dog get tested annually whether he or she is on preventive medication or not. If a dog is infected, treatment is expensive, dangerous, and painful. It involves giving blood-thinning medication over a period of four weeks, with a parasite-killing and painful shot of a form of an arsenic-based compound two weeks into treatment, and your dog should be monitored closely at this time. The dose has to be carefully measured so as to kill the worm but not the dog. Your vet should do extensive tests to ensure that the dog's other organs can handle the aggressive treatment. There is also a danger that the worm might migrate into the lungs during this stage. Dogs who are successfully treated can develop serious, life-shortening health problems such as an enlarged heart and kidney disease.

To be on the safe side and keep your dog free of this crippling disease, a phrophylactic can be administered at regular periods. The usual drug of choice is Ivermectin, a relatively safe and highly effective medicine that is sold under the brand name Heartgard, but your vet may suggest one of the alternatives. Ivermectin needs to be given at least every six weeks, though the packaging will suggest every four. These drugs prevent heartworm infection in 90 percent of animals, which is why a yearly blood test is also required. Sheep-herding breeds can have a fatal reaction to Ivermectin; check with your vet if your dog is a collie, sheepdog, or the like, or a sheepdog mix. Also, a good vet will want to do a blood test for heartworm before providing the preventive.

It is also a good idea to keep your dog free of mosquito bites wherever possible. Heartworm can also effect cats, though rarely, but humans are not at risk. Take simple precautions, and you and your dog will be able to enjoy a happy, healthy life during your stay in Taiwan.

For more information about heartworm, its causes and treatment, visit


Welcome to the Taiwan SPCA blog!

Here you will find regular updates of our activities, from rescues and adoptions to events and legal status. You will also find tips on animal care, links to sites of interest, essays on animal welfare, and general ramblings. And you will learn of ways that you can help prevent the suffering of animals on this beautiful island that many of us call home.

In the right-hand column, you will see animal-welfare videos as well as short films of the Taiwan SPCA at work as well as a slideshow that is updated daily with some of the animals who we have available for adoption.

If you have any suggestions of what you'd like to see on this blog, please do leave a comment or email us with your ideas.

Should you have a matter that needs an urgent response, please call or email. Our contact details will appear in the profile section shortly.

And do give us your feedback. We are very interested to hear what you think of the Taiwan SPCA blog.

We look forward to seeing this site develop, along with the Taiwan SPCA website which is finally under construction. You can already find us on Facebook--just search for 'Taiwan SPCA' and become a fan, and you'll have access to a whole lot more news and updates. If you Twitter, then simply follow us there, under 'TaiwanSPCA' (one word).

Wishing you and your fellow animals all the very best,

Sean McCormack and Connie Chiang
Co-Founders of the Taiwan SPCA
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Taiwan)