Social media users have flooded a county magistrate’s Facebook page, in an attempt to save the life of a dog that mauled a three-year-old boy to death, after an animal protection worker uploaded a video of the pit bull appearing cute, puppy-like, and craving affection.
At around 7:00 pm Thursday evening, in Chunri Village, Pingtung County, a three-year-old boy wandered out of his family’s home into a neighboring yard, where an American pit bull terrier was tied to a thick, heavy, 2-meter-long chain.
Neighbors alerted by screams found the toddler firmly locked in the dog’s jaws. After finally being released, the child was rushed to hospital, but was pronounced dead at around 10:00 pm, having suffered massive blood loss.
The death of the child left the close-knit community of Taiwan’s indigenous Paiwan ethnic group reeling. The owner of the dog was not just a neighbor, but a relative of the deceased child and his mother.
The dog’s owner, named Chiang, had taken ownership of the dog just a few months ago, intending to use it to guard his mango orchard located outside the village. But after the tragic incident, Chiang only wanted the dog gone.
Friday morning, December 3, animal health and protection staff from the Pingtung County Agriculture Department took the dog to a shelter where department officials said it would be subject to an assessment to determine whether it would be euthanized or not. The assessment will take about two weeks, a spokesperson said, noting that the dog was unregistered, not neutered, and did not have a chip implanted.
See recently reported story: Pitbull involved in fatal attack now up for adoption
Chiang was taken to the District Prosecutor’s Office for questioning, and was charged on suspicion of negligent homicide Friday afternoon.
Today, Sunday, December 5, Yan Xingjuan, chairman of the Taiwan Dog Lovers Association went to the animal shelter and posted a video to Facebook, showing her interactions with the dog. The animal that viciously mauled a toddler to death behaved in the way any canine family pet would be expected to, when you scratch him behind the ears. The dog appeared docile and obedient.
Yan’s comment accompanying the video questioned why a dog with such gentle behavior would have attacked a small child. “… what happened that day that you’d bite a three-year-old?” Yan wrote. Her Facebook post had been viewed more than 6,000 times, drawn 2,400 comments and been shared by 2,700 readers by the end of the day.
Viewers of the video flooded Pingtung County Magistrate Pan Men-an’s Facebook page, petitioning him to prevent the dog being put down.
“Mayor, the pit bull dog is innocent!” one comment read. “It’s a human’s fault.” another commenter said.
Many comments noted that the dog was chained up, and that the child was unsupervised by his parents at the time. “[the child] could have run out into traffic and been killed by a car,” more than one petitioner argued.
The Council of Agriculture, last year, announced they would ban the import, export, and ownership of pure and mix breeds of pit bull terriers after several attacks drew national attention.
In August this year, the Bureau of foreign Trade added American pit bull terriers and American Staffordshire terriers to the list of animals prohibited from importation.
From March 1, 2022, pit bulls currently kept as pets must be registered, chipped, and neutered.
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