Vet Couldn't Bear to Kill Them, but Couldn't Bear Not To
Taiwanese veterinarian kills herself with animal euthanasia drug; a year later, a law
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2017 1:11 PM CST
In this photo taken on Oct. 25, 2016, a stray dog peers from his cage at a dog shelter in Targu Frumos, Romania.   (AP Photo/Liliana Ciobanu)

(Newser) – The BBC notes that Chien Chih-cheng may have been "in the wrong job at the wrong time." That might be debatable, but what isn't is the fact that the Taiwanese veterinarian and animal lover met an awful fate last May when she killed herself, using the drug she normally reserved for putting down the animals under her care. Chien's death has sparked a whole new debate in Taiwan over animal euthanasia, which is about to be made illegal for strays there, and which Chien fervently argued for to help put abandoned and unwanted pets out of their misery in a country replete with strays and low on shelter workers. Chien, said to be in her early 30s, had taken a lot of flak for her stance, especially after reports came out that she had euthanized 700 dogs or so over a two-year period.

She was called all kinds of names—including "butcher" and "beautiful slaughterer"—and staff at her shelter didn't receive any kind of counseling after completing their sad job duties. In a TV interview for a local station, Chien herself described the first time she saw an animal put to sleep. "I went home and cried all night," she says. A note she penned before she died noted that she was overcome with emotion at having to euthanize so many strays. "There is no less importance in the life of an animal than the life of a person," she wrote, per the Washington Post. The Telegraph notes Taiwan's government has said it wants to offer more funding for shelters and counseling for anyone who's helped put an animal to sleep. (Our own feds are chomping at the bit to destroy tens of thousands of wild horses.)

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