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!



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:-
You will get up to HK$500 for joining the study!
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!!

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


I feel I must mention this amazing rescue that took place on Sunday.  The building management of Tsuen Wan building called our Inspectorate about a distressed, wailing cat which was caught in a crack some 30 feet off the ground. It had been trapped there for two days.  The Management informed that there extended platform was under repair and that no workmen would return until Monday.  The Fire Services informed that their platform could not reach inside.

After re-grouping and some serious planning two Inspectors and returned early on the Sunday morning armed with everything they had at their disposal. Two more also came to help and after several hours of climbing, squeezing, and some precarious reaching, the fantastic team effort resulted in the frantic being finally cat.

It was carried down by an Inspector, however just as they reached the ground, it broke free, escaped and ran off!

It was a fantastic effort by all… for the cat; it would have been nice if she could have shown just a little more gratitude!


A Happy Story from the Recent Tragedy

A  Happy Story from the Recent Tragedy

The Inspectors Hotline  received a call yesterday  from an elderly male resident  of the collapsed building in To Kwa Wan, asking for SPCA’s help to rescue his dog, that he believd was trapped in the building’s ruins.  When the Inspectors got there soon after the call they were delighted to see the one year old Yorkshire Terrier had emerged from the first floor rubble unaided and had found his estatic owner.  The inspectors after checking the dog were relieved to find no obvious signs of injury and after advising the owner to seek a proper veterinary check up to eliminate the worry about any internal injuries, left  the two to once again, enjoy each other’s company!

Wanchai Pet Promenade

Today is a very sad day to see the closing of the Wanchai Pet Promenade.  This project was a fantastic example of a progressive District Council working with an NGO to bring about something so unique and incredibly popular.   What the Wanchai District Council has demonstrated to Hong Kong is that a pet accessible park  can be a huge community asset.  Not only did they have the courage to try something new, but they listened and refined what they had, always seeking ways to improve it.  Its closure is an immense loss to the Northern side of Hong Kong.

What the Wanchai Promenade demonstrated most clearly was that such a facility not only benefits the animals but also the people, both the animal owning and non-animal owning.  An SPCA survey taken in the Promenade which has pet accessibility and the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade on the other side of the harbour, which doesn’t allow pets, was a surprise to us all.  What we found was that when people visited the Wanchai Promenade, a staggering 78% stated that they had social interaction with other human beings.  When we asked the same question in Tsim Sha Tsui a tiny 6% said that they ever spoke to another person when they visited the no animal facility.  There is no doubt that animals have the ability to bring us humans together.

We sincerely hope that this excellent model can be copied all over Hong Kong, however one point I need to make clear is that SPCA is not in favour of Pet Parks, but  rather parks that allow Pet Access – but with this comes a large responsibility on the part of the Pet Owner.  We are continually dismayed and disgusted when we visit parks in areas like Jordon and Yaumatei where we see these public facilities ruined by animal urine and faeces.  What hope do the responsible pet owners have of improving their facilities for the community while the irresponsible view these facilities purely as a toilet area?  The key to animals gaining acceptance and co-existing in our community is certainly responsible pet ownership and until we clean up our act we can’t blame the non animal owning public for putting up barriers.  If people needed to see animal owners behaving responsibly, the Wanchai Promenade was the place to look!

Meanwhile we are continuing our lobbying efforts for our animal companions to gain access to appropriate community spaces.

The search is on for a new support centre

Time is up for our Pok Fu Lam support centre – a great loss

Last week we were informed that we are required to vacate our SPCA centre in Pok Fu Lam by the end of February. Sadly this will mean the end of  this trusted facility.    Although not unexpected it was still a shock after all  this time. However we remain deeply indebted to our landlord, Swire Properties, for allowing us to remain and to operate there for so long. The pressure is now on for us to find other premises that can fulfill our needs and help us to save more animals

Currently  SPCA’s Pok Fu Lam Centre provides many support services for much of the behind the scenes work we do, as well as being an adoption centre and veterinary clinic.

Whilst we never undervalue having another outlet for animal adoption (the centre currently has dogs, cats and some small furries, usually hamsters) waiting for adoption, this centre has been invaluable for many reasons – the veterinary clinic for instance not only services patients living in the area but also provides veterinary care for Hong Kong Dog Rescue who currently occupy the sister site over the road – they also face the trauma of having to relocate.  We also have surgical and holding facilities that service our Community Dog Programme – where construction site, loosely owned and community dogs are held prior to and whilst recovering from their neutering surgeries.

Many of the public are unaware of the many issues that surround animal cruelty prosecution cases and this centre has been a ‘god send’ – giving us extra room to help look after the victims and cater to their needs over the many months (sometimes years) they are with us during their rehabilitation and the court process.

It is where we keep many of our social welfare cases; for instance those referred by various government departments such as Social Welfare and Correctional Services, or from others such as NGOs working in the field. These can be the dogs of   domestic violence victims or those serving time in prison. One such dog, ‘Fei Jai’, is about to be reunited with his master following his   release from prison tomorrow.

Part of the centre is used as a recuperation unit for cases of infectious diseases – unfortunately rescuing dogs from the street and Hong Kong’s pet trade means that respiratory  and fungal skin disease are not uncommon and  so many  dogs require isolation.

It has been a wonderful facility in that it has allowed us the flexibility to react to the unforeseen and temporarily hold dogs who are often the unknown victims who have also been affected by tragedy   or disaster.

The Pok Fu Lum Centre has served the SPCA and Hong Kong well over the years. In 1999 the SPCA took up the lease of both of the sites– having a clinic, boarding kennels and the back of house support located there. Indeed our longest  staying prosecution case victim resided there with us whilst the case went through the court process. A characterful  ‘Westie’ (read into that what you may) was one of the survivors of a case involving serious neglect and a pet shop which went to appeal. Eventually after two years the case was finally closed and we placed him in a new home. I often think it is ironic that those animals who are the victims of the crimes committed are themselves,     incarcerated as exhibits in order to convict the perpetrator. (This anomaly remains the subject of discussion with the Department of Justice)

What I have enjoyed most about Pok Fu Lam, is that it is the place where you put a face to the animals we discuss at daily briefings and which are contained in the welfare and Inspectorate reports.  I was actually fortunate to adopt one our long staying prosecution exhibit dogs who spent eight months in this facility, enduring a series of treatments and operations – I don’t think she will miss it the same as we will somehow!

Our present focus must now be to identify another premise or premises as soon as possible so we may continue on fulfilling our responsibilities to the animals.

A good example of a ‘Pok Fu Lam’ Dog is Princess, this big, gentle St Bernard.  She has a great character and loves people despite the suffering she endured.   Her owner was prosecuted for keeping her on a filthy, faeces covered balcony, emaciated and with no water.   She stayed in PFL for   4.5 months before her case was resolved and she was released and passed to adoption.  She was first placed in a home in Dec 2008 with a nice family but was returned to us in May 2009 due to environmental and the management needs of this type of large sized breed.  Princess remains very sociable with people and is still looking for a home.