Taichung Court rescinds fine on dead hippo owner
The Taichung High Administrative Court has recently revoked a city government decision to fine the owner of a hippopotamus that died late last year in two accidents.
The court ruled that the city government had no valid reason to fine the owner of A He, whose death caused the nation to reflect on how display animals are treated in Taiwan.
After the death of the hippo last December, the owner, surnamed Chang, was fined NT$ 500,000 ( US$ 15,800) for negligence by the Taichung city government based on the Animal Protection Act.
Chang brought a lawsuit against the city government after his appeal against the fine was rejected.
Chang then brought the case to the administrative court, which ruled on Sept. 24 that Chang did not abuse or harm the animal on purpose and so the city government should reverse its earlier decision.
The hippo, which belonged to a leisure farm named Skyzoo in the central municipality, jumped from a moving truck in Miaoli on Dec. 26, 2014, sustaining injuries.
The zoo management tried to send A He to a pond for recuperation the next day. But A He fell several meters into the pond as the ropes carrying the container holding it cracked, hurting it a second time.
A He was found dead on Dec. 29 in the pond. An autopsy later confirmed it died from a torn diaphragm.
Taipei Zoo, which performed the autopsy, said there is a 30-40 centimeter rupture on the right side of the hippo’s diaphragm which caused a lung to slip from the chest cavity to the abdominal cavity.