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Sanctuary being torn down. We need your help!!!

Sanctuary being torn down. We need your help!!!

Postby Ex Animo » 02 Sep 2014, 14:21

EMERGENCY—THE PUBLIC WORKS OFFICE IS TEARING DOWN OUR PIG GARDEN

We run an animal sanctuary on the north coast of Taiwan, near Baishawan, where we home about 200 animals, most of whom have been rescued from very nasty situations where their life was in serious danger. Most are dogs, and most of those have lost limbs to the illegal snares and gin traps that litter the countryside here. We also have pigs who have outgrown their homes, orphaned squirrels, once-injured feral cats, and, soon, deer rescued from the deer-velvet industry. We are currently moving all our animals to a new location and are halfway through building all the kennels for the dogs.

I just heard from The Sanctuary manager, Judy, that the goverment is tearing down our pig garden. Judy has managed to get most of the pigs into the hut to keep them safe and another into a pig pen that is half torn down.

The men who came looked very scary and refused to listen to her pleas, except to only tear down half of the pig pen.

We have been in constant touch with the Public Works Office and the inspector, Mr. Chen, who is dealing with our case, told us that this would not happen. When he was explaining the process to us, he said that we could just take down the fence and the case would be closed, or we can lower the fence and another inspector would be sent to make sure that it was less than 150 cm. We chose to lower the fence and wait for another decision because of course we cannot just take down the pigs' protective fence.

We need help. This is obviously a very serious situation. And we are now very concerned about the dogs. The government will come on September 19th to look at our dog kennels.

The men who tore the fence down said that they have received nonstop complaints (our nearest neighbour, who has two factory buildings and an extension on his roof, and who runs a KTV bar between his house and our land, has been organising a campaign against us, getting other neighbours (who are all his family) to keep complaining against us, even though the nearest neighbour to the dogs has told us that, in fact, there is very little noise coming from The Sanctuary.

1. Please give us your suggestions as to what we can do now.

2. We need help building a temporary fence, less than 150 cm high, to provide the pigs with a safe exercise area, ASAP. Wood is fine. We also need to put new doors on the tin hut that let the air through, as otherwise it is too hot for the pigs.

3. We obviously have to start looking at other pieces of land to rent if we cannot sort out this issue with our neighbours. We may decide to keep this place just for 'quiet' animals.

4. We need funds. The problem with our neighbour has slowed down our ability to move, and we are currently having to pay for two locations while we try to move out of our old place.

5. DOES ANYONE KNOW A LAWYER WHO CAN HELP PRO BONO? WE BELIEVE THE PUBLIC WORKS OFFICE ACTED ILLEGALY, AS THEY TOOK DOWN FENCES THAT ARE LESS THAN 150 CM HIGH.

We're obviously very angry with our neighbour, who has refused to talk to us or listen to how our sanctuary will in no way affect him, as we know how to keep the noise at an acceptable level. His friends have been telling us that he has a grudge against our landlord (also his family) and just doesn't like dogs (even though he has one of his own).

I'm in England on a shelter-management course, which makes all this even more difficult. Judy is of course doing a great job doing all she can to protect the animals. But she and our staff can't do it alone.

We will find a perfect solution. There is no way we will let anything bad happen to our animals. But we need your help. Please help us if you can.

Sean
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Re: Sanctuary being torn down. We need your help!!!

Postby NonTocareLeTete » 02 Sep 2014, 15:11

For interested parties, you can donate on the left-hand side of this page:

http://thesanctuarytaiwan.org/

I am trying to hunt down a friend with paypal account or credit card- until then, is there another way to donate? An address or bank account transfer number?
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Re: Sanctuary being torn down. We need your help!!!

Postby hansioux » 02 Sep 2014, 15:57

there is a similar incident in Zhanghua where the local government claims that dog houses are illegal buildings. That rescue managed to generate enough public outcry through facebook and got the attention of TV news, which forced the local government to tread-backwards on some of their statements. Maybe that's what you need.

I suggest post about what happened, on facebook and on the sanctuary's homepage. Post pictures of the half torn down pig pen, and pictures of the pigs after they've lost their shelter. Do enough of that, generate enough people to comment on facebook, then the reporters would come (I've passed the info to a reporter friend of mine, but if you click into the home page of your website, there's no information or pictures of what the city government did).
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Re: Sanctuary being torn down. We need your help!!!

Postby bob_honest » 02 Sep 2014, 16:16

During my active time with our own little dog rescue operation we co-operated with many private one-girl shelters (that is what they were basically) which always were covert operations, very afraid to get the attention of the authorities. This incident obviously shows why. Damned shame.
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Re: Sanctuary being torn down. We need your help!!!

Postby BigJohn » 02 Sep 2014, 16:23

I would video and photograph anyone and all vehicles that come to your place. Get faces, license plates, etc.

Have more than one person there at all times so there are witnesses. If someone tries to take something down, physically intervene by interposing your body while someone else videos it. Say that you don't want any violence or trouble, but that they are breaking the law - not their fault, probably a mistake - and will be sued in court for any destruction and have to personally pay for all damages.

That might help a bit.
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Re: Sanctuary being torn down. We need your help!!!

Postby hansioux » 02 Sep 2014, 16:43

This is what my reporter friend said:

1. Is the sanctuary registered with the government?

This is crucial, because if it is not, the operation wouldn't have conformed to regulations.

2. Without registration, the sanctuary cannot ask for donations.

3. Without registration, the land usage would also not match to what the land was registered for. (It looks like the land is rented).

4. Without registration, the sanctuary wouldn't have a permit to operate.

In short, if the sanctuary is not registered, it would be difficult to have the city government cancel their plans even if you are able to generate enough outcry. It would also mean if someone reported the sanctuary to the city government, the city government will have to act if there's no permit for the sanctuary's operation.

If it is registered with permit for operation, then great, it's probably news worthy material.

I think this website is where you can search for registered organizations and download the forms to register an organization. If you type in 動物 (animal) into the searchbox, it would return a bunch of animal protection organizations.

http://cois.moi.gov.tw/MOIWEB/Web/frmHome.aspx
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Re: Sanctuary being torn down. We need your help!!!

Postby Ex Animo » 02 Sep 2014, 17:24

Many thanks for all the great responses.

We're not a registered charity but we have been attempting to apply for a license to build and operate a shelter, with the assistance of the Xinbei Animal Protection Office. What quickly came to light, however, is that there are NO legally constructed shelters in Taiwan (including, I was told, govt shelters) and that we were the first people or org ever to apply to do things legally.

We've been talking and meeting with every pertinent govt agency, from our local LiZhang and Land Office to the Department of Agriculture, the likely next Mayor of Xinbei, and another very powerful politician.

We've delayed registering The Sanctuary to avoid it falling into the wrong hands, which can happen once 'ownership' passes to members and directors who may not be aligned with our policies.
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Re: Sanctuary being torn down. We need your help!!!

Postby Ex Animo » 02 Sep 2014, 17:25

We try not to ask for donations but instead for people to help pay directly for the animals's costs.
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Re: Sanctuary being torn down. We need your help!!!

Postby bob_honest » 02 Sep 2014, 18:07

Not talking about this case, but in general...


1. Is the sanctuary registered with the government?
------------> Countless private undercover shelters out there, no license

This is crucial, because if it is not, the operation wouldn't have conformed to regulations.

2. Without registration, the sanctuary cannot ask for donations.
-------------> They all do in dedicated forums.

3. Without registration, the land usage would also not match to what the land was registered for. (It looks like the land is rented).
--------------> Well, quite common in Taiwan. But I know it is not a satisfying situation if trouble occurs.

4. Without registration, the sanctuary wouldn't have a permit to operate.
--------------> There are now legal grounds to have registered shelters, but no shelter owner we ever talked about in our dog-saving-org days trusted the local authorities as far as they could spit.
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Re: Sanctuary being torn down. We need your help!!!

Postby hansioux » 02 Sep 2014, 18:15

bob_honest wrote:Not talking about this case, but in general...


1. Is the sanctuary registered with the government?
------------> Countless private undercover shelters out there, no license


I agree with what you said. Not that long ago there's a famous case in Zhuanghua, where 擁風中途農場 (midway farm) built 30 or so wooden dog houses, and were said to be in violation with building codes. I believe they were also unregistered. What happened was their neighbor wanted them to pay 30,000 NT per months. They eventually refused and they went through court. Their neighbor claims that the road they use to access their midway farm overlaps with private owned land. Their neighbor is very well connected with the local government and law enforcement, one is an ex-cop, the other works at the local Lands Department. They made the claims to the city that the dog houses violates building codes, and the government shows up to tear down the dog houses the next day or something.

擁風中途農場 was able to generate enough awareness on facebook and got news attention and had local government backtrack on their actions. So social media is the first step, if it isn't registered.

What I'm saying is that social media attention would help get that news media attention, otherwise, if the sanctuary isn't registered, my reporter friends says there's very little to go on.
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