Please support better regulation of pet trade 請支持加強寵物買賣監管

Every so often, Hong Kong is offered an opportunity to take significant steps against animal cruelty and improving animal welfare.
The AFCD’s recent proposed legislation regarding Better Regulating Pet Trading to Enhance Animal Health and Welfare is such an opportunity.

If accepted and approved, this proposed new legislation addresses and prevents a huge area of cruelty and unnecessary suffering for dogs, namely that of the unlicensed, unregulated and unscrupulous , ‘hobby breeders’. This legislation would not impinge on the public’s right to purchase a dog of their choice, or the right of a breeder who has a genuine concern for animal welfare, to operate a legitimate business.
The new proposals address the mandatory licensing of all breeding for sale in order to close loopholes and set minimum standards while also substantially increasing the penalties for unlicensed breeding. It provides the power to inspect and the power to revoke licenses.

The SPCA sees the effects of this un-governed cruel trade on a daily basis. Breeding animals confined to small filthy cages for years at a time, abandoned animals and a trade in puppies of which a significant proportion are already diseased or sick. We can see how desperately needed this legislation is and how much of a positive impact its approval would be.

The SPCA applauds our Government for this initiative and urges the Hong Kong public to support the proposals. Hong Kong can simply not afford to miss such an opportunity to improve animal welfare, especially when it’s an action that is so overdue.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the people of Hong Kong support a more humane society. The opportunity for us to show our support of this legislation and provide increased protection for the tens of thousands of dogs it will affect over the next decades, is a significant step in the right direction.

Sandy Macalister
Executive Director SPCA

在香港,市民偶爾會碰到難得的機會,在防止虐待動物上踏出重要一步,並改善動物福利;漁護署近日所提出的建議,旨在加強寵物買賣監管,正是絕佳的例子。

如果建議修訂獲得通過,新法例便能監管所謂的「業餘繁殖者」。這些「業餘繁殖者」目前不受監管,任意妄為,是使大量狗隻受到不必要痛苦的元兇。與此同時,新法例並不會侵犯公眾購買狗隻的權利,而對真正希望保障動物福利的持牌繁殖業者,也不會影響他們的正當生計。

新建議對任何繁殖狗隻買賣強制執行發牌,以堵塞現有漏洞,並要求業界達到一定的最低標準,同時大力加重非法繁殖的罰款,並賦予政府部門巡察和吊銷牌照的權利。

在協會這裡,我們每天都看見寵物買賣業界缺乏監管帶來的惡果:繁殖用的動物在狹小骯髒的籠子裡長年不見天日、街上被遺棄的動物,而被買賣的幼犬當中,患病、死亡的為數者眾。由此可見,立法是刻不容緩的事情,一旦通過,將產生正面的影響。

愛護動物協會樂見政府採取主動性,並呼籲普羅大眾支持是次建議。這次收緊法例其實經已是姍姍來遲,香港實在不能失去這次寶貴機會去改善動物福利。

香港人支持建立和諧共融的人道社會,這是一個越來越顯而易見的事實。若我們能夠藉此機會支持收緊法例,便能在往後數十年間,向數以萬計的狗隻在法律上提供更佳保障,影響深遠,為帶領本港邁向正確道路的踏出重要一步。

 

The new legislation will make this type of cruelty a thing of the past.

Lucky Cow

Yesterday saw another fantastic example of inter-departmental-animal organisation co-operation and effective joint efforts to rescue an animal….this time a big one!

It was a demanding situation where a cow on Lantau was discovered having fallen into a water catchment, where it remained trapped. 


Our Inspector Anthony arrived on the scene with our Lantau Vet (and resident cow expert!), Dr. Cheryl Meekan. There they found Fire Services and AFCD already at the scene attempting to position the cow at a higher level in the catchment so it could be lifted out. What followed was a ‘Herculean’ effort  involving ten men who pulled the cow up and into safety.


Dr. Cheryl treated the cow’s minor wound on the spot and the cow made its own way back to its free roaming, island life!


A great ending to a weighty problem!

Diamond Hill Cemetery – Injured Dog Recovered

Many of you may be familiar with the distressing case of a badly injured dog in the Diamond Hill Cemetery.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgHGny3iy_E

For a few days the dog, which was seen by the Cemetery staff with a horrendous leg injury, proved to be elusive until he was finally caught last Tuesday ? by our Inspectorate team.

The inspectors took “Wong Jai” immediately to our 24-hr Wanchai hospital where he was examined by our vet team; blood samples were taken and the wound cleaned. He was made comfortable and stabilised overnight with intravenous fluids, painkillers and antibiotics. The cause of this immense suffering was, amazingly, a common rubber band wrapped tightly around his upper leg.  The wound itself was badly infected and the lower leg extremely swollen. The leg, which was effectively dead and full of maggots , was unable to be saved and posed a life threatening risk due to the chance of infection spreading through the blood.

The next morning our surgical team, lead by Dr. Gillian Hung amputated “Wong Jai’s” right front leg. They did a wonderful job and after a worrying day yesterday of  Wong Jai looking depressed, and not eating our vet nursesgot to work preparing an irresistible dish of Cha Siu and chicken cooked rice.  Everyone was relieved and extremely happy at seeing the shiny empty bowl left behind!

Today, ‘Wong Jai’ is up and has enjoyed a very brief walk in our exercise pen. He coped fantastically!

What follows now is some monitoring, some assessment and then hopefully he will make his way down the corridor to our Adoption Centre.

I’m guessing, but I think he would like to thank everyone for their concern!

Not Always As It Seems

These days we frequently hear claims of animal abuse, especially regarding cats when they are found dead with missing limbs or injuries which are not easily explainable. The members of the public who constantly read these claims are lead to believe that in Hong Kong we are the home to a great deal of cruel and very sadistic people and that premeditated animal abuse is an every day occurrence

This frequently leads to more pressure being applied to the Police and calls for a separate Animal Police to be set up.

This is actually not the case and Hong Kong is not a place where deliberate cruelty is more common than most other countries. All too frequently the alleged cruelty cases are in fact accidents.

SPCA Inspectors are conducting rescues and investigations all across Hong Kong, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. They attend a great deal of cases where carcasses are found or reported. Our Inspectors and our Vets (examine many of the suspicious cases found. It would therefore seem obvious that they would be the ones to notice such a trend, if it was occurring, but in fact they don’t.

Here’s two examples of tragic situations that might lead to some of this confusion.

A while ago our Inspectorate rescued some kittens from the inside of a private car’s engine. Probably their mother (with the very best of intentions!) had deposited them there to keep them safe. Luckily they were discovered before the owner started his engine – if not the consequences could have been horrific

Engines are an especially popular, warm and cosy winter refugee for street cats, during the cold spells and in the summer rainy season they are a source of shelter. Our Inspectors are often called out and find them tucked into the engines of cars and trucks. It is probably only the very lucky few that are discovered. – many will be missed and later found on the street either dead or with severe injuries including limbs and tails missing having been caught in the running motor or falling out during a journey.

The below case is another that occurred just this week when this street cat (who was part of the CCCP programme) was found hideously impaled on a metal rod. Again, this was not an act of cruelty, but a cat impaling itself on a hard-to-see metal reinforcing rod. If it had been discovered dead it may very well have also been assumed to be the victim of some sadistic human act.

(The good news here is that this incredibly lucky cat, after receiving substantial and complicated veterinary treatment from our very skilled Dr. Annabel, is actually recovering well and all being well, a potential adopter is waiting in the wings to take her home).

All too often it is automatically assumed and alleged that dead animals are the result of human cruelty or abuse, usually the work of a fictitious and sadistic human being with a chopper. The truth is we rarely find the evidence to support these claims. Where we do find evidence of possible wrong doing either through witnesses, evidence at scene or upon the veterinary examination, the case is followed up by both the SPCA and Government Authorities.

Hong Kong is fortunate to have an SPCA Inspectorate who possess good animal knowledge, has vast experience and training in a wide range of animal matters and vast veterinary and professional resources supporting it. It is also very fortunate to have a Police Force who again has huge resources and usually assigns personnel from its Region’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to investigate animal cruelty cases. When these two work together you have a very effective combination that is difficult to better. In addition the AFCD also have full investigative teams and can provide further forensic support – in the form of the team at the Government veterinary laboratory.

Hong Kong does not need a separate ‘animal police’ when it already possesses the best of its kind in Asia.

DESPERATELY SEEKING VOLUNTEERS

Thinking of adopting a dog soon?  – Heres a way to also become in involved in a ground breaking and very worthwhile study.

Hong Kong University approached us some months back about a study they were making into the benefits of dog ownership –

In particularly the health benefits arising from the extra exercise dog owners derive as well as the mental benefits of owning a canine companion.

You can read all about it on the following link:-

http://dogwalk.hku.hk
You will get up to HK$500 for joining the study!
你是否正準備養狗呢?
請進入並參加這個和香港大學合作,關於養狗的研究
http://dogwalk.hku.hk/index_C.html
參加這個項研究有機會獲得高至HK$500 獎金! 

It’s a hugely interesting project and one which hopefully will have an important impact on dog ownership for many years to come; But the fact is they are desperately seeking volunteers to take part.  They need to be able to measure  ones level of activity before owning a dog and then the activity levels after  owning.  Its non invasive and the data is obtained through a small sophisticated  device. – its easy and  a really great thing to be involved in.

If you can help the Hong Kong University would love to hear from you – again please access the researchers directly through the  above link.

…and as you can see there’s even a small cash incentive – enough for a few months dog food!!

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

Recently there has been quite a bit of media interest on an animal welfare prosecution case that occurred last week involving multiple animals.
Lots of people are interested in the abused animal’s welfare which reflects the level of concern that the Hong Kong public have in such matters these days – there’s been fantastic change.

Only when you have been involved in such cases can you understand what they entail – dealing with often horrific situations and scenarios with dead, decaying, dying or suffering animals – attending to their welfare needs whilst documenting the case and collecting the evidence that is vital to effecting a successful prosecution.

These days we receive excellent support from the Police, AFCD, Fire Service and the Courts and there has been a huge change in the seriousness that is placed on animal abuse and the response of all concerned – all for the betterment of animals. However it is sometimes ironic that the animals that we all set out to help, can fall through the cracks as it were and end up remaining the victims long after the case is closed. Many such unfortunate animals can stay with us for a very long time. There are two such dogs still with us who definitely deserve some renewed attention.

I can only hope that as a result of the recent interest that someone may step forward and offer to adopt two quite special ex-prosecution case dogs; Ah Man or Gwai Gwai. Both of them are looking for homes.

Ah Man came to us in November 2009 – he’d been severely neglected – he had heartworm, was incredibly thin and had a severe skin problem (his companion wasn’t so lucky – she was found dead at the scene). In March his ex-owner was found guilty on 5 charges – 4 relating to cruelty offences and 1 to a licensing offence and as Ah Man was released to our custody we were able to put , the now healthy fellow, into our adoption programme.

Gwai Gwai was seized from a suspected illegal hawker in Yuen Long who was also being investigated for cruelty offences – luckily for Gwai Gwai, who has a wonderful mellow character, his purported owner gave him up to our care and so is also now waiting for his second chance.
Sometimes people ask “Why doesn’t the SPCA do more?” Often they’re just not aware of what has been done behind the scenes. In cases like Ah Man’s and Gwai Gwai’s, the final step is always finding that special kind hearted person or family, to come forward and provide them a loving home – enabling us to help more needy animals.

Ah Man  

Gwai Gwai

A Huge Step For China

Over  this last weekend I was fortunate to be invited, along with Twiggy Cheung our China Outreach Director and our Welfare director Dr. Fiona Woodhouse, to attend the  an historic International Forum on Chinese Legislation for the Protection and Management of Animals in Beijing.

The 180 people attending included academics and animal welfare representatives from across China as well as a cross section of international animal welfare representatives and animal welfare law experts.

The forum served as the unveiling of the first ever “Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Law of the PRC” (Experts Draft Proposal).  It must be stressed that this is a draft proposal which requires finalising and then presenting to the National People’s Congress.  There is still a very long way to go, but one can not help but feel incredibly excited that something that started as a small meeting and personal introductions three years ago has grown to become the first Draft Animal Welfare (anti- cruelty law) for China.

This remarkable achievement is largely down to the inspiring Chang Jiwen, Professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Law, and his amazing team of academics who have had the vision and have worked so hard on this project.  It was very much to their credit how they encouraged and welcomed input from those present on the many very complicated issues that need  to be addressed.  They did an excellent job.

It was also very encouraging  to witness and hear, how in just a few years, animal welfare and the prevention of cruelty, has become a matter of great importance and concern with so many across China.

Admittedly it is only a first step, but it’s a very big one and there is now certainly just cause for an era of hope and optimism ahead.

Professor Chang Jiwen