Sometimes its No Fun Being a Cat

I am constantly amazed when I see the daily report from the Inspectors, at some of the incredibly precarious situations in our City, which animals find themselves in.

Yesterday was agreat example when this little ear-tipped, neutered, female found herself in a terrifying situation (even for a cat!), outside the 9th floor of a building in Sai Wan Ho.

Luckily for her, our resourceful Inspectors Desmond and Michelle managed some clever ‘juggling’ which ended with the petrified feline safely within a net.

The good news was that she was completely unharmed and safely released back into her CCCP colony – with a very “tall” tale to tell!



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.

Inspectors – Highs and Lows.

It is always a great privilege to read the daily Inspectors reports to see what they have got up to over the last 24 hours.  I never cease  to be amazed and impressed.

Most people would be completely unaware  of  what some of the rescues entail and the incredible dedication the Inspectorate team members have  towards their duties and the   welfare of animals.

There was a couple of reports that jumped out at me this morning.  The first is what you do when you have a report of a cat stuck inside  the large neon sign of a restaurant.  Our Superintendent Bobby Wong solved that one!…only to discover and disturb  a very non stressed cat who had found his own private retreat away from the bustle of city life…one which they later learned he used on a regular basis!

The second was an interesting and rather strange case of abandonment.  Everybody assumes abandonment mostly relates to dogs and cats, but this sizable abandonment in Yue  Man Square, reported to us by   patrolling Police  early in the morning, goes to show that there is a wide range of animals that are subject to their owners’ whims.  In this case, 16 hamsters and two Love Birds (cages and all!) were taken back to our Kowloon Centre for checking and if they are lucky, re-homing.

This example serves as a good reminder around this time of the year not to treat pets as presents….

If you have thought it right through and decided to add a pet to your family, why not check with us first before visiting a pet shop – you are likely to find that we have what you want – not only will you be helping an animal that needs help, but you’re likely to feel better too!

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.