Crisis usually can be discovered, and usually results from inability to resolve conflicts. Crisis is everywhere around us and it is the turning point for events to get better or worse. For government organizations, significant crisis usually results in unpredictable loss of lives and properties. Rabies is a viral disease resulting in acute inflammation of the brain; it is caused by the rabies virus . All warm-blooded vertebrates are vulnerable to the disease. Ferret-badgers (a wild animal native to Taiwan) were infected with rabies in July, 2013. The spread of the disease caused widespread fear amongst Taiwan’s citizens. Currently, the challenge of preventing its spread to dogs and cats, and to humans, has been testing the government’s crisis management capability.
The researd study begins with a review of the theory on crisis and the special characteristics of crisis, examining differing perspectives on crisis management. The study uses the three-stage crisis management theory proposed by Nunamaker et al. (1989), which breaks down crisis management into the pre-crisis, in-crisis and post-crisis stages. In the pre-crisis stage, the activities undertaken include the drawing up of crisis response plans, the holding of crisis response drills, etc. In-crisis stage activities include the establishment of crisis response teams, monitoring the state of the crisis, managing resource application, etc.; activities undertaken during the post-crisis stage include evaluating the performance of the crisis response teams, restoration work, and preparing for the formulation of new crisis response plans, etc. The researd study uses a review of the literature, in-depth interviews, and an examination of the performance of New Taipei City Government (formerly Taipei County Government) in Taiwan in relation to the pre-crisis, in-crisis and post-crisis stages of its response to the challenge posed by rabies, to explore the current state of the response to rabies. The study’s findings revealed a number of areas where the performance of New Taipei City Government in relation to rabies prevention could be improved, including: the percentage of dogs and cats inoculated with rabies virus is too low; the pet registration system has not been properly implemented; there is no consensus regarding the number of pet dogs and cats and the number of feral dogs and cats in New Taipei City; the horizontal linkage between government departments is inadequate; there has been a lack of crisis response drills. The study puts forward five suggestions: Efforts should be made to enhance citizens’ awareness of the importance of inoculating pet animals against rabies; in high-risk areas, a feral animal control mechanism should be put in place, together with surveys of pet dogs and cats; an effective early warning mechanism should be established; a crisis communication plan and principles governing the issuing of press releases should be put in place in advance; the crisis-related resource management system should be strengthened. These suggestions are put forward as a reference for the prevention and management of rabies by New Taipei City Government, in the hope that they will facilitate the drawing up of more comprehensive and more effective rabies prevention strategies.