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.