A National Taiwan University graduate student, Lee Nien Lung, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in the end of March 2010 under the charge of animal cruelty. The sentence given to Lee Nien-lung by the Taipei District Court for abusing and killing three cats is the longest in Taiwan’s history.
Animal cruelty has been considered as minor offense in Taiwan, the cat-killer case in 2006 was only resulted in a 50,000 NTD fine (around 1,500 USD) — as animals are considered as a property rather than life in legal term. In 2007, the animal protection law in Taiwan was amended due to public pressure. For extreme cases, the penalty can be up to one year imprisonment and 1,000,000 NTD fine, and full disclosure for the offender identity. The evidences in Lee's case were gathered jointly by netizens and cat lovers, who found out that Lee was at least involved in 7 cat deaths.
Evidence gathered by netizens
A blog, antiabuse, was set up to collect evidence and follow the serial cat killer case. It provides a detailed description of how netizens dig out the case:
2008/10/10下午，ptt ID dodoson在ptt台灣大學 獸醫系97級班板詢問台大總圖旁的貓，網友catjoelee發現送醫。醫師指出貓有腦水腫的跡象，預後不良且醫藥費昂貴。最後貓被施以安樂死，由 catjoelee交給系上教授提供學術研究之用，目前已聯絡上該教授，且遺體已交由動檢所處理。dodoson事後寫信希望要回貓屍，留下電話 0958xxxxx8，catjoelee以貓屍已經在系上教授冰櫃為由回絕。已聯絡上送養人，送養人指出領養人為李xx。
2008/11/29 凌晨，ptt ID Meanings在ptt台灣大學 懷生社社版通報有小貓重傷。同時間由其他網友發現並送太僕動物醫院(台北市龍江路260號)急診，醫生研判傷重建議安樂死，並將屍體拍照後火化。…2009/02/21經貓咪論壇中途白狼指認，確定為白狼網友於11/27號送出的中途貓，且經由照片指認確認認養人為台灣大學 博士班學生李xx。
As a result of netizens’ joint effort, five victims (those who gave the kittens to Lee) reported the case to the police and testified in the court. Moreover, some witnesses provided the court with more evidences on Lee's cruelty. One of them said Lee, “in an effort to relief the pain of a kitten hit by a vehicle”, put the kitten inside an activated dry machine. Another said Lee once caught a kitten with a towel and flung it to the ground. The kitten was tortured to unconsciousness.
Before the trial on 20 of January 2010, aletheia wrote a letter to the Prosecutor comparing animal abuse with child abuse. The letter has been re-posted in many forums and blogs:
The pain that they suffer is more than what we can feel.
Even though they don't speak doesn't mean that we are in lack of evidence. On the contrary, because they cannot speak as a victim, similar to the case of human baby, we, as adult human should take up the responsibility to condemn such kind anti humanity act.
Animal as human property in the law book
Animal lovers are pleased to see the result of the 18-month imprisonment sentence, but blogger Woosean thinks otherwise:
There are around 193 comments from the post so far. 竹林茶苑 commented in a neutral tone:
Lee is now filing an appeal to the higher court to review the sentence. The debate regarding animal rights will continue to become a hot issue in Taiwan.
Now, why do animal lovers give their pets away to unknown, presumably an animal tormentor?
I’ve seen too many abandoned cats these days that I believe you actually should have a license to keep pets in the first place.
This would, of course, not solve the problem completely but surely it could prevent people getting the custody without some guarantee that pets won’t be hurt unnecessarily and e g abandoned cats could be traced back to whom abandoned them in the first place.
I don’t think such a license need to be authorized by legal authorities but rather by local animal protection agencies and communities.
For people who disagree with this sentence, I have one thing to say: People who torture animals are psychotic and lack empathy and remorse. Serial killers have historically been known to torture animals in their youth. They serve as easy targets and they satisfy an uncontrollable urge to kill. Torturing animals is the stepping stone to killing even larger prey: Humans. This sick individual obviously needs imprisonment and psychiatric help if he is to function normally in society. As a society we are so anthropocentrically focused, thinking only of human life as important. I beg to differ, as animals have the same pain threshold and emotional capabilities as humans, and as such, do not deserve this kind of torture and anguish. Animal torturers and the people who turn a blind eye to them are inhumane and criminal.
Cases of animal abuse ending with jail time are rare. The law only protects rare and endangered animals and is not applicable to domestic animals such as dogs and cats. Bankruptcy Lawyer help San Antonio