TAIPEI - The military is scheduled to hold a lottery draw next week to decide who will adopt two retired military police sniffer dogs, Military Police Command said yesterday.
Head of the Military Police Command's combat and garrison division Cheng Chia-chi (成家麒) told local media yesterday that a total of 116 people applied to adopt the pair of military-trained German shepherds, Dape and Niko, by the deadline the command set on Dec. 1.
A review committee has gone through a preliminary screening and has chosen 15 potential civilian adopters that are qualified to adopt the two dogs, Cheng said.
Review committee members later visited the 15 candidates' homes from Dec. 5 to 8 to check if their houses are big enough to accommodate the large dogs, he noted.
Cheng said a large home is important because the dogs are used to having open space for exercise and need exercise even after their retirement.
The command today will announce a number of finalists that will enter a lottery draw on Dec. 19, from which two winning applicants will be selected, he added.
Both Dape and Niko are 10-year-old females. The two animals were trained as sniffer dogs, specialising in the detection of explosives. They were also used to check disaster relief goods, the command said.
According to the command's regulations, all military police sniffer dogs are forced to retire when they reach the age of eight. The command's previous regulations stated that retired military canines have to remain under military watch and cannot live their lives outside military barracks even in retirement.
Following an appeal by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) after lobbying by animal rights groups last year, the command for the first time decided to accept applications from civilians to adopt retired military dogs so that they can enjoy the rest of their lives outside military bases.