Three dogs, two cats and more than 100 birds were found dead inside storage facilities at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport near Taipei on Aug. 4, drawing attention to poor handling at Taiwan's main port of entry.

The animals were put in a short-term cargo area used for quick customs clearance of perishable goods at 6:20 a.m. Their planned flight, China Airlines Flight 721, was scheduled to depart for Kuala Lumpur at 8:50 a.m.

At about 6:40 a.m, the animals were taken to the apron – the outdoor area where the planes are parked. Before departure, the airport crew found two cats, a dog and the birds dead, another two dogs were found barely breathing, and later died.

The case is still under investigation.

However, the longer-than-normal exposure to high temperatures on the apron, and a lack of ventilation inside the warehouse areas and storage containers, has been blamed for the deaths. It is thought the deaths could have been prevented if the airport's storage areas had better ventilation, and if animals were sent to the aprons no earlier than 30 minutes before a flight's departure.

It is reportedly the first time the airport has failed to exercise due diligence resulting in the death of animals.

According to a Council of Agriculture, the company could be fined between NT$15,000 (US$470) and NT$75,000, CNA reports. There is also potential for jail time if someone is found to have killed the animals deliberately.

First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole