31-01-2016, SPCA (HK)’s Gentle Reminder to Members of Public on the Handling of Lost and Found Pets

(Hong Kong, 31 January 2016) The SPCA regrets the recent misunderstanding over the incident of a stray cat.On 24 Jan, the Management office of Wonderland Villa phoned our hotline, they had used the cage provided by AFCD and caught a stray cat, they asked the SPCA to collect the cat.  In response to their request, our Inspectorate collected their trapped cat on 24 Jan.The cat did not have a microchip or other markers that could identify an owner. Since collection, the cat was aggressive and suffered from psychological distress.  Its mental status did not improve over several days and its poor welfare status was extremely concerning to us.  After an assessment made by our veterinary staff, the cat was determined to be unsuitable for adoption. If this cat was to be kept indoors, its mental stress would deteriorate so we made a difficult decision to euthanise the cat on welfare grounds on 28 January. Later on this day after the cat had been euthanized, a claimant enquired of the SPCA regarding a missing cat of which they were unable to provide specific details such as gender, age, and unique characteristics. They were also unable to present a clear photo of the cat.  We believe the misunderstanding might have arisen as the claimant believed the cat we collected was the one she was seeking.  To avoid the occurrence of similar incident in the future, we encourage all owners who have lost an animal to immediately contact us and provide us with full details of the animal concerned.

The SPCA is charged with a mission to help animals by enhancing their welfare and well-being, regardless of whether they are owned or stray animals. One of our key programmes is the Cat Colony Care Programme which neuters an average of five to six thousand community cats each year. These cats are also microchipped and vaccinated for free and returned to colonies under the care of registered volunteers.

The SPCA strongly advocates that property owners, estate and building management who have feral cats on their premises join our extremely successful Cat Colony Care Programme to benefit from the programme and help to both humanely manage any feral cat related issues and also to help improve the welfare of the street cats. In light of this incident we will be approaching the management offices at Wonderland Villas to encourage them to join the CCCP.

We re-home over 2400 animal each year and we microchip all of our homing cats and dogs and we strongly encourage all responsible pet owners to do the same for their dogs and cats as microchipping is one of the best ways to ensure that you are reunited with your pet in case they get lost.

We deeply understand the distress of owners when their pets are lost. In light of this, we do everything possible to ensure the well-being of the animals who come into our care. We want these animals to be accurately identified and returned to their owners as quickly as possible. If the pet can be easily identified, owners can retrieve their animals through an identification process which is designed to ensure that the individuals who claim back the animals are their owner.

At the SPCA, assessing ownership claims are based on multiple factors which include:

  • Permanent individual identifiers such as microchips or tattoos that can be linked directly back to potential owner through documentation (licensing, vaccination cards, medical records etc)
  • Knowledge of an animal’s individual characteristics (age, breed, colour, markings, sex, neuter status etc)
  • Non-permanent identifiers (collar, id tags)
  • History related to the case, including location, timely reporting of loss
  • Other physical proof such as photographs with the owner or animals in the home setting

Often multiple claims for the same pet are lodged and these have to be assessed thoroughly to ensure that the true owner is identified.

One of the key ways we work hard towards the goal of improving animal welfare is in the promotion of responsible pet ownership, which includes ensuring that your pet can be easily identified and quickly returned should they become lost. Here are our advices for owners who are concerned about what to do to should they lose their beloved pet or what steps they should take to increase the chances of being re-united:-

  • Microchip and license all dogs under your care -  it is crucial for owners to update their personal details and to update those details when ownership changes
  • Your pet cats too should be micro-chipped.  The SPCA microchips all cats adopted so that should they become lost they can be more easily re-united with their owners
  • In addition to micro-chipping collars with id tags (with a phone number that can be easily read) and GPS tracking devices can all help to keep your pet safe
  • Keep records of your pets in a safe place and current photographs are vital as they can be used for publicity and as an aid to confirming identity
  • If your pet becomes lost it is important to take action straight away – notify the SPCA, the AFCD, the police, your local vet clinics and other animal rescue NGOs Publicize your loss in your neighbourhood and on social media, and inform any building or estate management offices immediately
  • You can also post details on the SPCA’s Lost and Found Website
  • Of course preventing loss is the best option, so please make sure that your premises are escape proof and that if you take your animal out, it is either under proper control or secured.

If you lose your pet, please report to the SPCA Wan Chai headquarters on 2232 5553 immediately.

You can also post on our lost and found website: http://www.spca.org.hk/en/services/lost-your-beloved-pet/search-lost-and-found

The SPCA also reminds pet owners that they should report the case to the nearest police station (remember to obtain a police report number) and the Animal Management Centres (Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department) at:

Hong Kong Animal Management Center 
(Covers HK Island & Outlying Islands) 
Address: No.688, Victoria Rd, Pokfulam

Kowloon Animal Management Center 
(Covers the Kowloon Peninsula) 
Address: No.102 Sung Wong Toi Rd, KLN

New Territories South Animal Management Center 
(Covers Shatin, Tsuen Wan & some areas in Tai Po) 
Address: No.98, Che Kung Temple Rd, Shatin

New Territories North Animal Management Center 
(Covers Sheung Shui, Fanling, Sha Tau Kok & some areas in Tai Po) 
Address: No. 13 Shek Wui Hui Rd, Sheung Shui                                                                                                  

Please contact the Animal Management Centers via 1823