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03-03-2015, Alliance urges war on animal traps

Alliance urges war on animal traps

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Over 20 illegal animal traps found last year
The largest animal welfare charity in Hong Kong, said it found over 20 illegal animal traps last year.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said most traps were located in the countryside, and the captured animals may have to have their limbs amputated in order to survive.

Tony Ho, a chief officer of the NGO, said they relied on reports from the public to locate the traps, and that very few owners of the deadly devices have been prosecuted.

Fiona Woodhouse, the Deputy Director of the SPCA, traps meant for both domestic and wild animals have been found. Some of the traps have even caught some hikers, she said.

Alliance urges war on animal traps
Hilary Wong Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Twenty-two animal concern groups have banded together to combat the use of animal traps that maimed at least 13 animals last year.

The Stop Illegal Animal Traps Alliance includes the SPCA, Society for Abandoned Animals, Hong Kong Wild Bird Conservation Concern Group and Sai Kung Stray Friends.

The alliance aims to raise public awareness and to collaborate with volunteers to eliminate unlawful animal traps.

SPCA chief officer of the inspectorate Tony Ho Tze-tong said the society confiscated 159 animal traps between 2010 and 2014.

Last year alone, nine dogs, two cats, a boar and cow had to be rescued from the traps that were found in remote areas including Lam Tsuen in Tai Po and Hang Tau Tsuen in Sheung Shui. He said some animals were seriously injured and their limbs had to be amputated.

Group members said the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has done little to stop the practice as enforcing the law is difficult.

"To arrest a culprit is difficult," Ho said. "It needs evidence, like finding someone holding the trap."

He said types of traps used include snares, cages and gin traps. Some even contain explosives. He said a gin trap is made of steel, has a tight spring and is hard to remove after it has been sprung.

Ho said a dog named "Four Eye Tsai" was one of the victims injured by the illegal traps. The dog was found badly hurt in the Wo Hop Shek area last December.

Four Eye Tsai had three operations due to serious inflammation of wounds. One front leg had to be amputated to save its life.

Ms Lo, who adopted Four Eye Tsai, said it became afraid of humans. "It was full of fear at first. But after a month of treatment it started to become happy and was willing to be touched by others," she said.

A spokesman for STOP! Save Hong Kong's Cats and Dogs, Gloria Li Suk-fun, said: "What we can do now is to remove the traps one by one. This is tough but the only thing we can do."

The alliance has set up a Facebook page which serves as a platform for volunteers.