The Taichung Police Department’s reorganization of police dog handlers is cruel to the animals and disrupts human-canine teamwork, the New Power Party’s (NPP) Taichung chapter said on Wednesday.
The department in November last year imposed a two-year term limit on police dog handlers and last month dismissed four of its eight handlers, NPP officials told a news conference outside the Taichung City Government building.
Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) is using police dogs as props in public relations events instead of deploying skilled working animals that require special care, said Hsu Hsiao-mei (徐小媚), the party’s regional director for the city’s South and East districts (東南區).
Photo: Su Chin-feng, Taipei Times
Under the new guidelines, a police dog would be reassigned 3.5 times in its career, which is detrimental to the dog’s effectiveness and mental health, she said.
The ill-conceived policy shows that the city government does not respect or understand police dogs, said Tsou Ming-yen (鄒明諺), the party’s regional director for Dali (大里) and Wufeng (霧峰) districts.
Taichung’s police dogs are overworked and in poor health, said Fu Chih-heng (傅智恒), the NPP’s regional director for Houfeng District (后豐).
The department’s cages are much smaller than those used at the Customs Administration, said Chiang Kuan-fu (江冠頫), the NPP’s regional director for Beitun District (北屯).
A police spokesman said that the handlers were dismissed when the dogs they were assigned to retired, adding that they could reapply for the job.
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