Pawprint Magazine

Published by the SPCA, Pawprint is an animal welfare magazine that highlights the latest work of the SPCA and membership activities, as well as current animal welfare issues.

Pawprint is published three times a year – February, May and August, and is available in both Chinese and English. As a member privilege, SPCA members enjoy a free subscription to Pawprint. For members of the public, however, the magazine is available online in PDF format.

If you are a member and wish to change the language preference for your Pawprint subscription, please contact our Membership Department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 2232 5548.

If you are a representative of a Hong Kong school and would like to subscribe to Pawprint, please contact our Education Manager at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Issue 97 - 2015/05 2015/07

Issue 97 - 2015/5 2015/7


  • Words of the Executive Director 1
  • Notice board 3
  • Cover story A “Dog’s Life” at the SPCA? 4 - 9
  • Inspectorate SPCA Case Files 10 - 11
  • Veterinary Vet Facts 12 - 13
    Vet’s Case Book 14 - 15
    Vet Tips 16 - 17
  • At the frontline Dr Teresa Lee, Vivian Or, Law Ho Tak and Ivan Ip 18 - 19
  • SPCA update Dogathon 2015; Calendar 2016 20
    Educational talks; Foster Care Workshop 21
    Paw Pal Programme 22
    China Outreach 23
  • Happy ending Monnie, Kama, Ella and Kitty start new lives 24
  • Awaiting adoption Fa Fa, Pei Pei, Chok Chok and Cass 25
  • Members’ corner Events from June to August: horse riding and more… 26 - 27
  • Kids' corner All about hamsters: Bor Bor Gives Advice 28 - 29

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  • Words from the Executive Director                                                         1

    Dear Members,

    The last issue of Pawprint highlighted the first part of our strategy to achieve the goal of Zero Surplus and explained our plans to significantly increase our efforts on Animal Birth Control. This issue will focus on the second element of our strategy, Adoption. 

    For years, the SPCA has been pleading with the public to adopt, not buy. Yet more and more animals are being sold every year in pet shops when there are perfectly good healthy companion animals available at the SPCA and at many other charity organisations around Hong Kong. Not only do these animals cost a fraction of the price of a pedigree from a pet shop but the SPCA, in most cases, will have started to work with them to improve their behaviour so that they can better adapt to your home. Many of these are mixed breeds who make superb companions and who are not subject to the genetic defects often suffered by over-bred pedigrees.

    At the SPCA last year we homed almost 2,300 animals and this year our target is to home many more. To do this we recognise that simply putting them in a glass cage at one of centres is not enough, so we are trying some new initiatives.

    First, we are increasing our efforts to make the dogs more attractive – no, we’re not applying make-up! What our behaviourist Dr Cynthia Smillie and our team of trainers have been doing is completely revamping our approach so that the dogs have a more enriched stay with us and are better prepared for a new home. This regime includes regular trips, in groups, with our more experienced dog walkers, to the new dog park at Tamar where the animals are allowed to develop their social skills. To support this we have also upgraded the training we give to our very loyal and dedicated team of homing staff and volunteers so that we get a consistent approach throughout the homing process.

    We are also recruiting volunteers to work with us at our Stanley and Sai Kung centres who will be challenged to simply get the dogs out there and showcase them. We will be significantly increasing our communication efforts to inform you and the general public of the animals that we have and asking for your help in spreading the word. We are also planning a number of promotional events where we hope you will have fun and give our animals a chance to show you how great they are.

    Our homing animals come from situations where many, but not all, have suffered some form of neglect or abuse. Some of them have been surrendered to us but many more have been rescued from the streets after being abandoned by an irresponsible owner. Others come to us as a result of a prosecution case and may have suffered significant trauma. The 35 pedigree schnauzers we rescued from a breeder last month were so covered in excrement that we had to completely shave them. Mung Chu, a big nine-year-old Labrador cross breed who came from another case, had his muzzle so tightly wrapped that he is now scarred for life. Mung Chu is one of our long stayers: he has been waiting for adoption for almost 26 months. Long-stay dogs use a great deal of resources to take care of properly. In his time with us Mung Chu has consumed over 1,600 meals, more than 2,000 treats and been walked over 900 times. He has had over 100 medical check-ups and been bathed at least 26 times. We urge you to ask all your friends to consider adopting Mung Chu or an animal like him and end their long wait.

    By the time you receive this copy of Pawprint I will have returned to a leisurely life of retirement having been at the helm of the SPCA for the past eight months. During that time many changes have been initiated that will continue for the coming months and years. The new Executive Director will be in place and steering the SPCA to an animal-friendly future. This time I have only been here for a few months but I am extremely grateful for the support you have shown to our wonderful and dedicated staff and our amazing volunteers. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to you, our members; without your continued support we could not carry on our work. 


    Steven Calpin

    Executive Director of the SPCA 


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  • Notice board                                                                                  3 

    Exciting new changes are coming to the Barking Lot (Stanley Adoption Centre) !

    We are sprucing up our look and working hard to build this charming ocean-side adoption centre into a community hub that will draw even more foot traffic to visit our adorable homing dogs, cats and hamsters. 

    To do this, we’ll be cultivating a dedicated team of Barking Lot volunteers who will be committed to working at the centre on specific days to:

    • Keep our kennels and cattery pristine clean
    • Introduce potential adopters to our homing animals with the aim of making a suitable lifelong match
    • Interact with our furry friends to provide enrichment and socialisation
    • Provide our homing animals with both physical and mental stimulation to relieve stress, kennel frustration and pent-up energy while they’re awaiting their forever homes

    The Barking Lot aims to be more than a “mere” adoption centre and we’ll be organising a variety of community events, workshops and many other things. This might be baking healthy dog-treats, conducting an obedience training workshop, and even making DIY toys for the animals. So bring your friends, family and pets to this peaceful oasis in the heart of Stanley to enjoy a fun, relaxing weekend and hopefully take one of our wonderful animals home!

    Come visit us at: 14 Stanley Main Street, Stanley Market, HK 

    Enquiry: 2164 8382


    “Hair Miles” loyalty points exclusive for members

    As an SPCA member you can now earn “Hair Miles” loyalty points with every visit to our “Hair Force” grooming service. Our staff will issue your pet with a “Hair Force Boarding Pass”, which records the “Hair Miles” earned in each visit, and the “Hair Miles” can be redeemed in subsequent visits (booking in advance is required). In addition, all proceeds from grooming services support our animal welfare initiatives. Book an appointment today and help other less fortunate animals in the process!


    For details, please check: or by 2232 5532.


    Heartfelt thanks to Aeon for its “Yellow Receipt Campaign” !

    Aeon Stores (HK) Co. Limited launches a “Yellow Receipt Campaign” in Hong Kong on the 11th of each month, inviting customers to vote for their favourite charity by putting the yellow receipts given for every purchase into the voting boxes. Goods to the value of 1% of the accumulated total of the receipts are donated by Aeon to that organisation.

    An Aeon Yellow Receipt Campaign presentation ceremony was held on 28 February 2015, where the SPCA was declared as having received the most votes among the 12 charities represented. We would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks to Aeon and to all the people who voted for the SPCA, giving us the highest tally for the third consecutive time. Your support helps us in our effort to give all healthy and adoptable homeless animals a second chance.


    Updates on the SPCA Welfare Desexing Centre

    Since our SPCA Welfare Desexing Centre in Fairview Park Yuen Long opened last year, business has been hopping! The centre is open four times a week to help clients in the New Territories desex their mongrels for free under the SPCA’s Mongrel Desexing Programme on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and to better service the Cat Colony Care Programme (CCCP) carers in the area on Thursday so they can more easily bring cats in for desexing.     

    Currently, the centre averages about five to ten desexing surgeries a day, but we aim to increase that number significantly as our SPCA inspectors ramp up their promotion of the programme. 


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  • Cover story   A “Dog’s Life” at the SPCA?                                                 4 – 9

    A “Dog’s Life” at the SPCA?
    A passport to happiness…

    Yes, I’m Milly. I’d like to tell you my story and how I came to be at the SPCA and what happened next.

    One day, I was taken to a private veterinary clinic with a broken leg and bad skin and eye problems, but the vet there was worried and had me transferred to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as a suspected cruelty case. An SPCA Inspector brought me to the Society’s hospital for treatment, where I was given the name Dau Dau and happily made a full recovery under the care of the kind vets, veterinary assistants and veterinary nurses.

    The SPCA Inspectorate worked with the Hong Kong Police to investigate my case. From the evidence collected they concluded that my injury was an accident. My young lady owner had loved me, but she had little idea of how to look after me. The staff of the SPCA Welfare Department recognised that she didn’t have the time or resources to take care of me properly and that my welfare was at risk. They met with her several times and advised her to let the SPCA find a new home for me, to which she finally agreed. In the meantime, the SPCA became my temporary home.

    A detailed behavioural assessment was made of me by an SPCA trainer, which confirmed that I was suitable for adoption. I was brought to the kennels where the kennel keepers took good care of me every day. I made many lovely furry friends and was sad to see them leave when they went to new homes or were taken home temporarily by foster parents if they needed greater care. But I was happy for them and patiently waited for the day when it would be my turn. The vets gave me regular check-ups and vaccinations during my stay at the SPCA; the volunteer dog walkers took me out every day so that I had plenty of exercise and time away from the kennels; and the homing assistants eagerly introduced me to people who visited. I was in the kennels for one month, when one happy day someone spotted me as special, adopted me and gave me a loving home and my new name, “Milly”.

    I received much love and care while at the SPCA, which helped me get over my previous unhappy experience. To the front line staff who looked after me, the kind back office staff who support the operations and those in the customer services department, whom I still meet from time to time when I visit the SPCA, I owe my newfound happiness. Mine is one of many stories with a happy ending which result from human devotion to help suffering animals, but there are still many unfortunate animals – dogs, cats, hamsters, birds, reptiles – at the SPCA waiting for someone to give them a home and a second chance at life.


    Will you be that “someone” ?



    The stories of the animals in the SPCA are all as unique as Milly’s. Our staff from different departments strive daily to rescue animals in need from dangerous situations, alleviate their suffering and find permanent loving homes for them. We aspire to achieve the goal of “Zero Surplus” in our Mission Zero campaign, so that the day will come when no healthy and adoptable animal is without a proper home. In the last issue of Pawprint, no. 96, we introduced our work on Animal Birth Control; in this issue, our cover story will take you on a tour through the adoption work that we do as we help animals find new homes and give them a new lease of life.


    Our inspectors rescue animals in Hong Kong around the clock throughout the year. Some of these animals are fortunate enough to be reunited with their owners. Some uninjured wild animals are released immediately, some are referred to Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden or the Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) for assessment and rehabilitation. Other unowned or stray animals which are found to be sick or injured will be sent to the SPCA for veterinary examination and treatment. The Inspectorate also works closely with the Hong Kong Police, Fire Services and the AFCD if additional resources are needed.  In the year 2013 to 2014, the Inspectorate rescued over 1,800 animals. In addition to their rescue work, the inspectors also work within the community to help identify abandoned or unwanted animals that need assistance to find a new home before bringing them to the SPCA.

    Animals come into the SPCA adoption programmes from various sources – not just from being rescued directly by the inspectors. Members of the public find abandoned animals on the streets, our CCCP (Cat Colony Care Programme) carers find friendly abandoned pet cats and kittens in their colonies, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden may have abandoned pet snakes handed in, and abandoned animals or those seized in relation to crimes may arrive from AFCD. The SPCA team is ready to help 24/7.



    Healthy animals entering our adoption programme are examined by our welfare veterinary surgeons – vaccinations and preventive medicines such as routine anti-parasitic treatments against fleas and worms are provided as necessary for the many different species we help routinely. Not only do we help the traditional companion or pet animals such as cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs and birds to find new homes, but increasingly we find more and more exotic creatures such as snakes, lizards, different types of turtles and tortoises, hedgehogs and ferrets need help to find new homes.

    In some cases where animals are injured or sick, they will be sent to our hospital for medical care, surgery and nursing back to health. Often we have a full house and our volunteer foster parents provide excellent help in extending our care facilities. Puppies and kittens which are too young to be adopted or those which require extra care for special medical or behavioural conditions, or just need respite from being in the adoption kennels, may be sent to our foster parents according to the animal’s needs.

    This fostering period can take anywhere from two weeks to several months or longer, after which the animal will then return to the SPCA for adoption. Some happy ending stories even occur during the fostering period – the animal is adopted by the foster parents or their neighbours, for example – and when one animal finds a home this means that resources are spared to give another animal a chance!



    While our animals stay at the SPCA kennels awaiting their new home, they are under the care of many different staff members who work hard every day to provide a safe, comfortable and cosy temporary shelter for them.

    Our adoption dogs are assessed by our experienced behavioural trainers and welfare staff so we can better understand their temperaments hoping to allow us to best match the personality of the animal with potential adopters.

    The kennel keepers make sure that the animals have clean living areas, that their beds are comfy, that they are provided with nutritious food and fresh water, and that they have plenty of opportunity to play and socialise with both people and other animals. Our welfare vets perform physical check-ups and vaccinations on a routine basis for our homing animals to ensure that they are in optimal condition and that any medical issues are caught early on.

    Dedicated volunteers take our homing dogs out for walks every day to relieve pent-up energy and kennel stress. In addition to conducting daily obedience training in the kennels, our behavioural and training team see to it that homing animals are both mentally and physically stimulated through the use of various enrichment methods. These include giving them toys to play with, baking homemade cookies as a healthy snack and taking dogs on hiking trips or to the new dog area in Tamar Park for exciting group play sessions.

    The SPCA’s newly launched Paw Pal Programme is a further collaboration with some of our most experienced committed volunteers, giving them an opportunity to learn basic obedience training skills and to further help socialise our homing animals. All of these efforts aim at preparing our dogs and cats to become more well-rounded, better-behaved furry citizens of society and ready to adapt to their future lives with their new owners.

    Last but not least, our homing assistants and kennel keepers serve as the bridge between our animals and potential owners; their job is to advise you about the temperament of each animal, their habits, their quirks, their likes and dislikes – basically, the things that make each and every one of them unique and special. This means that the homing assistants might ask a lot of questions about where you live and who you are living with just to ensure that you fit with the pet’s needs. Don’t forget that they are also helping to identify a pet that fits you and your lifestyle the most as well!

    Finally, supporting the front line staff from behind the scenes is a large group of people who work just as diligently to help run the SPCA, its myriad programmes and promote animal welfare in the broader community – from our top executive management and board members to the finance department, marketing and communications, education, fundraising, IT, administration, the general staff, volunteers and many more. Without them, we would not be able to continue doing what we do.


    But we still need you…

    Our homing animals need you to give them loving and caring homes for life. The community needs you to be a responsible and respectful pet owner to promote societal harmony. The SPCA needs you as a member to speak up for the animals and to support us in achieving the animal welfare goals in our Mission Zero campaign. Together, we can stop animal suffering one day!

    To make this happen, you can donate to support our adoption work that demands substantial financial, logistical and human resources. Or you can take one more step by spreading the message of “Adopt, Don’t Buy”. You can also introduce our homing animals on your Facebook page, Instagram or simply by telling your friends and family. Gathering the power of people like you and me can change the fate of these animals. Together, we can brighten their futures immeasurably.   


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  • Inspectorate   SPCA Case Files                                                    10 – 11

    “Animal cruelty is a crime ! ”

    Inspectorate figures at a glance:      October to December 2014

    Hotline calls received             8,686

    Animals handled                    952

    Animals rescued                    432

    Complaints investigated         276

    Pet shops inspected               93

    Wet markets inspected           227


    01 Convicted (October)

    Videoed by a passer-by suffering abuse at the hands – and feet – of her owner in a Ngau Tau Kok public housing estate, Sai Mo became the subject of a court case. Her owner was charged with “Cruelty to Animals”, convicted and sentenced to one month’s imprisonment suspended for two years, fined $5,000 and ordered to pay $5,000 compensation to the SPCA. Sai Mo has since been happily rehomed.


    02 Convicted (October)

    In March 2014, Haylee, a young black and tan dog, was discovered with another dog and two cats in deplorable conditions in a village house in Kam Tin. They had no food or water and were surrounded by excrement. The owner pleaded guilty in court in October to “Cruelty to Animals” and was fined $2,000. Haylee is now at the SPCA waiting for a new start in life with a responsible and caring family.


    03 Rescued (October)

    This lucky terrapin, which had crawled into a drain pipe on the roof of a village house in Sai Sha and fallen three storeys to the ground, was ingeniously rescued by SPCA inspectors. As the owner of the property refused to have the pipe cut open, the inspectors reached the animal by lowering a padlock wrapped in duct tape down the pipe from the rooftop and after several attempts lifted the terrapin to safety.


    04 Collected (October)

    The Emerald Dove is a distinctive resident of Hong Kong with its brilliant green wing feathers, but it is shy and rarely seen, preferring the cover of thick woodland. It is occasionally spotted when flushed from a forest path, but this bird was found lying injured outside a village house in Clear Water Bay. It was collected by an SPCA inspector and sent to Kadoorie Farm for treatment and rehabilitation.


    05 Convicted (November)

    In January 2014, a pretty ginger and white stray was cruelly caught in a gin trap in the garden of a village house in Sheung Shui, necessitating the amputation of its leg. Police arrested the house owner, who admitted having set three traps, and in November he was convicted of “Cruelty to Animals” and sentenced to two weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for one year. The SPCA has since found the cat a loving home.


    06 Rescued (November)

    SPCA inspectors sought the help of the Fire Services in their rescue of this Spotted Dove seen hanging upside-down in a tree in Tai Po and reached the bird using a hydraulic platform. It appeared to be uninjured but was unable to fly because its legs were tangled in string. The string was carefully cut away and the freed bird taken to Kadoorie Farm for a check-up. The moral of this case: Please don’t fly kites near trees.


    07 Convicted (December)

    On a hot day in June 2014, six young mongrels were found in a Yau Ma Tei back lane thoughtlessly shut in a cramped cage without access to water. The dogs’ owner was later arrested and charged with cruelty to animal offences, and in December convicted and fined $10,000. Despite the owner demonstrating such basic neglect of his animals, the magistrate ordered that all six dogs be returned to him.


    08 Rescued (December)

    A healthy-looking ginger stray that was hanging on precariously inside the netted bamboo scaffolding between two-floors of a building in To Kwa Wan was rescued by SPCA inspectors. Climbing up inside the net with the assistance of on-site workers, the inspectors eventually got hold of the cat with a cat control pole. She was sent to the SPCA hospital for veterinary examination and later homed.


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  • Veterinary      Vet Facts                                                        12 – 13

    Imperfect but Much Loved

    The case of Pandora (whose story is on p.15) highlights one side of our work at the SPCA – not all of the several thousands of animals that we rehome every year are 100% perfect!

    If Pandora had been born into the wild she would have had little chance of survival, but it is part of the long relationship between our own species and dogs, cats and other companion animal species that we provide a living environment that is safer and more comfortable than that in the wild. Pandora is an example of an animal which is able to enjoy life because she was rehomed to a caring, understanding family.

    The quality of an animal’s life is of absolute importance and we take great care to ensure that potential owners are made fully aware of whatever special needs an animal may have to ensure that quality of life. This is done through a consultation with one of our vets.

    At the SPCA we are often impressed and inspired by the stoicism and bravery of animals. We know the public feels this way too as these “imperfect” animals are often the first to leave our adoption wards!

    Some other examples: 

    The three-legged animal

    Not all animals which walk out of our doors to a loving new home do so on four legs. Road traffic accidents, attacks by dogs and even illegal animal snares are typical reasons why a leg may need to be amputated. After a recovery period and learning to get by on three legs, these animals usually cope extremely well and live normal, happy, pain-free lives.


    The timid animal

    We don’t always know what an animal’s experiences were before they arrived at the SPCA. If they are timid or nervous of people we have to imagine that perhaps some bad experience with humans was endured earlier in their life. With extra TLC (tender, loving care) and adoption into a loving home, many can learn to see the world differently and trust again. 


    The dog which dislikes other dogs

    Some dogs can show aggression to other dogs – certain breeds are more likely to show this trait. Forewarned is forearmed and we are happy for such dogs to be adopted into a household where it is the only dog. The new owner is given advice on the precautions needed to avoid mishaps while out in public.


    The animal with a congenital problem

    Congenital problems are ones that an animal is born with or which develop very early in life. An example is hip dysplasia – a misshapen hip joint that can lead to arthritis and pain. We routinely X-ray susceptible breeds to check for hip dysplasia. Owners are still allowed to adopt such animals, but they must be fully advised that the future is likely to include medications, dietary supplements and possibly even surgical interventions.


    The older animal

    Sometimes animals come to us later in life and have developed some form of disease. Mild heart disease or a skin allergy, for example, do not preclude a dog finding a home as long as the new owner fully understands what care and treatment is required.

    Infectious diseases, of course, are very different. We take great care to avoid animals being adopted with diseases which could be passed to other animals. These are treated in our own hospital wards or in the care of our foster parents.


    One exception may be:

    Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) This chronic virus will eventually cause the death of the cat, but they often enjoy a long period of happy life before euthanasia is required. FIV can be spread in cat fights and so we generally only adopt them out to a single-cat, indoor household, and we fully advise the owner of what the future may hold. 

    Of course, one way that animals leave the SPCA in a different state to that in which they were born is that they have usually been desexed (or will be very soon). As I described in the last issue of Pawprint, this is an extremely important way to ensure that the animal has the best chance of a healthy, calm life and to control the animal populations in Hong Kong. The fact that there are more cats and dogs in Hong Kong than there are loving homes to adopt them into is the root cause of the animal welfare issues that the SPCA and other animal charities address in their daily work.


    Dr Adam West
    Senior Veterinary Surgeon   


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  • Veterinary      Vet’s Case Book                                                      14 – 15


    Cerebellar Hypoplasia 
    What is cerebellar hypoplasia?

    Feline cerebellar hypoplasia is a congenital condition in cats whereby the cerebellum, located at the base of the brain, is underdeveloped. The cerebellum is involved in the involuntary aspects of moving the body and fine muscle control. Kittens and cats with this condition have problems with balance. They may experience tremors, jerky movements and appear generally uncoordinated. Some can be more severely affected – they may fall down frequently and have difficulty in walking. 

    Kittens showing signs of this condition have most likely been exposed to a virus (feline panleukopaenia virus) while in the mother’s uterus. The cerebellum matures and develops up until the last few days before birth. The virus can damage growing nerves resulting in a small, underdeveloped cerebellum and disability in the affected kitten. Other possible causes include toxicities, malnutrition or injuries that have occurred during foetal development.


    Diagnosis of cerebellar hypoplasia

    Imaging such as MRI and CT scanning can be used to confirm the underdeveloped cerebellum. However, diagnosis of most kittens with this condition is by exclusion of other causes and the characteristic clinical signs which include:

    • Lack of coordination
    • Tremors that increase when the animal focuses on an object or task (“intention tremors”), and subside when the animal is relaxed
    • A wide-based stance and poor sense of balance


    Managing cerebellar hypoplasia

    Cerebellar hypoplasia is a non-progressive condition and there is no treatment to resolve the damage to the cerebellum. Many cats afflicted by the condition can lead happy and fairly normal lives if special considerations for their disability are taken by the owner. These include being kept indoors, having sturdy, non-spill dishes and minimising the potential for accidental injuries that occur as a result of having this condition.


    A True Story About Pandora

    Pandora came to the SPCA as a stray at approximately four weeks of age. She was examined by one of our vets and it soon became apparent that she was no ordinary kitten. She was noted to walk with her legs widely positioned, place her feet clumsily and invariably miss balls when playing.

    She was also noted to tremor when attempting to focus on objects such as food and toys. Pandora was displaying signs consistent with cerebellar hypoplasia. She was fostered by a member of staff to assess her for special needs in a home environment. She became an instant hit with the other household dogs and cats, keeping up with the best of them. She has no problems using a litter tray and is particularly skilful at finding the most comfortable spot to snooze. She might not be the most graceful of kittens, but she is certainly one of the most adorable, making up in personality what she lacks in elegance! We at the SPCA wish her a long and happy, if slightly wobbly, life.


    Dr Annabel Sutch

    Veterinary Surgeon   


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  • Veterinary      Vet Tips                                                                     16 – 17


    Having just adopted a new dog you want to ensure that the relationship develops into a lifelong bond. Like any friendship it takes time to get to know each other and for a dog to feel confident enough to reveal its true character. You may be in for a few surprises! 

    Here are some tips to help you get off to a good start.


    Low-key arrival

    Although being adopted is good news, the dog will not immediately understand this, as it cannot predict what comes next. Introduce individual family members outside, allowing the dog to approach and interact. Then bring him inside on a leash and give him a tour of the house but keep everything calm, and don’t let children overwhelm him. He needs a quiet place where he can relax during the day.



    Before going into the house, take him to the spot where you would like him to toilet and reward him with a food treat. Then take him out at frequent intervals. Maintain a consistent routine! Put him in a place that is easy to clean, such as a kitchen, overnight.  



    Initially keep walks short (5 to 10 minutes) until you understand how your dog responds to things outside. 


    Friends and family

    Limit visitors for a few days so as not to overwhelm him and spend time getting to know him. Once he has settled introduce him to friends and family so that he perceives friendly interactions with them as a normal part of life. This prevents the barking and lunging that is the response of some dogs to strangers who come to the home.


    Prevent separation anxiety

    Take a day or two off work so your dog gets used to the family and the household routine, but more time may cause distress if you suddenly return to work after a long period together. Leave him alone for short periods each day and gradually increase the time.


    Start reward-based training

    Dogs quickly learn that good manners and polite behaviour bring them all the things they value – food, attention, walks and play. Reward-based training is fun and makes your dog more ready and willing to learn. Training provides mental stimulation, focuses your dog’s attention, and strengthens the bond between you.


    Establish a daily routine

    Dogs thrive on routine and clearly defined boundaries. When life is predictable a dog will be more confident and less anxious.


    Change food slowly

    Feed your new dog on the food that it has become used to in the shelter and then add increasing proportions of new food over several days. 



    Give the dog a variety of toys or chews to direct his attention away from items you do not want him to destroy.



    Socialisation should continue even beyond the puppy stage. This is particularly important in adoption dogs where they may not have much experience of strangers, other dogs or even traffic. Without adequate socialisation, puppies may be shy and as adults develop a variety of behavioural problems often due to fear, such as aggression. Introduce your dog to a variety of people and other dogs, as well as being handled, hugged, restrained and groomed so they remain relaxed and confident in all sorts of situations.



    Don’t shout at or punish your dog or try to enforce close contact. It takes time to build up trust. 



    Tips for the first days in a new home

    • Allow the dog to explore its environment including where he will eat and sleep
    • Take him to where you want him to toilet and reward him if he goes
    • Don’t overwhelm the dog – no welcome-home party
    • Introduce him to family members one at a time
    • Allow the dog to approach and interact and don’t try to enforce close contact
    • Provide a quiet place where he can go to rest and relax alone
    • Don’t make a big fuss when you go out or come back
    • Establish a daily routine with clearly defined boundaries
    • Reward him for the behaviour you want
    • Don’t punish him for the behaviour you don’t want
    • Introduce reward-based training and make it fun
    • Keep walks short so you can assess how he reacts to things outside
    • Socialise him to the various things he will meet in the environment both inside and outside the home
    • Introduce new food slowly
    • All play should be toy based as some dogs find rough and tumble games, wrestling or chasing confusing or even threatening
    • Be patient and give your new dog time and space to adjust.


    Dr Cynthia Smillie
    Behavioural Consultant 


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  • At the front line   Dr Teresa Lee, Vivian Or, Law Ho Tak and Ivan Ip   18 – 19

    Dr Teresa Lee - Welfare Programme Manager

    Dr Teresa grew up in Asia and qualified as a veterinary surgeon in America. She spent some of her formative years in veterinary practice volunteering for animal welfare NGOs tackling the stray dog overpopulation issue.

    “I’ve always wanted to continue working with organisations dedicated to expanding animal welfare in the region, and the SPCA provided the perfect opportunity to do so,” she said, joining us last year as our Welfare Programme Manager.

    The most unforgettable moment in her career was the case of a 40-kg, 10-year-old female Akita diagnosed with pyometra. The dog, Yuki, was so aggressive that despite being critically ill, it took several people and lots of skilful manoeuvring before they could sedate her for surgery. The surgery was successful and the story has a happy ending.

    “I ended up marrying the dog owner and he gained a valuable (and expensive) lesson in the importance of desexing your animals! At our marriage ceremony, Yuki was the ring bearer.”


    Vivian Or - Senior Veterinary Nurse, Welfare Department

    It is almost 10 years since Vivian joined the SPCA in November 2005 as a veterinary assistant. She applied for the job while still in Canada, hoping to join the largest animal welfare organisation in Hong Kong.

    “The work of a veterinary nurse/assistant in the Welfare Department can be challenging, as the animals we receive, many of which are rescued, do not come by appointment with an owner who can tell us about their background! We need to work closely with the vets to help such animals in need,” says Vivian.

    After her years of experience, Vivian also thinks the cases that she faces daily are very telling of human behaviour.

    “Some are sad and almost heartbreaking, especially those that arise from prosecution cases. I will never understand why human beings can treat an animal in such an inhumane way, while the animals retain their trust despite their experiences. What I constantly have to remind myself is to put my anger and emotions aside and simply focus on helping the animals.”


    Law Ho Tak - Assistant Inspector

    Law Ho Tak, who joined the Inspectorate as an assistant inspector in December 2013, is a mild-mannered gentleman. At first, he worked with some degree of nervousness, but is now capable of working independently after gaining experience alongside senior colleagues in different rescue scenarios and has become an important member of the team.

    “Being able to work independently has given me a great sense of satisfaction. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to work with senior colleagues, for it allowed me to learn a great deal. On one occasion we carried equipment on foot for hours in Sai Kung searching for a calf that was reported as being sick. However, when we reached the reported location the calf was gone. We later found it not far away and recognised that it was a newborn and quite healthy and was being cared for by its mother. The calf had just been resting on a slope when reported as being sick.”

    Despite the long trek, Tak was happy to know that the calf wasn’t in danger, and treasured the chance to listen to his colleagues share past experiences and stories on the way. 


    Ivan Ip - Volunteer Inspector

    Like most of the volunteer inspectors, Ivan Ip is from the Disciplinary Forces and joined the Inspectorate in February 2014. He has thus been a member of the volunteer team for over a year, his passion and love for animals driving him to sacrifice much of his spare time to assist in our work.

    “I earlier worked as a veterinary assistant in a private animal clinic and witnessed far too many abandoned animals being brought in for help. My own cat, Mui Mui, had been abandoned outside the clinic. These experiences made me want to aid animals as much as I could.” Joining the Disciplinary Forces and knowing about the volunteer inspector team, Ivan sent us his application and become a volunteer inspector after training and examination.

    The work of animal rescue can be very diverse. Ivan recalls once searching for a lost dog in an area of dense woodland during a thunderstorm. Although the dog was not found (and took itself back home a few days later), it was a special experience for Ivan, allowing him to understand the challenge of rescue work. 


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  • SPCA update                                                     20 - 23

    Hill’s x SPCA Dogathon

    Raising Funds and Awareness for Adoption Services 

    The SPCA Dogathon celebrated its 30th year as a fund-raising activity when on 11 January 2015, about 3,000 high-spirited dog lovers and close on 1,500 dogs took part in a walk at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. The event raised about HK$1.5 million to fund the SPCA’s adoption and rehoming services that will help more dogs find a home.

    We would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to all the volunteers, celebrities, corporate sponsors such as Hills, BALL watches, JEEP, PetzUp, Caniquin and other supporting organisations, corporate teams and, of course, all the walkers – human and canine. Participants were able to enjoy the exercise and the superb scenery along the trail while contributing to the event. There were photo opportunities galore, and the fabulous Dog Carnival at the finish of the walk provided excitement of all kinds including a stage show, dog frisbee, a dog agility challenge, a photo-shoot corner and several game booths. We hope everyone enjoyed the day and that we see you again in 2016!


    Reserve a date on the SPCA Calendar 2016!

    We are about to begin production of the SPCA’s 2016 monthly wall and weekly desktop dog and cat calendars. Now’s the chance to have YOUR very special pet feature in their pages! If you don’t have a pet of your own, you can sponsor one of our homing dogs and cats to be a star. Their presence in the calendars brings attention to the plight of abandoned animals and helps to enrich their lives while waiting for a new home.

    This year, we are also offering a photo-taking service for your pets. Let your pet shine out from the calendar pages. Act now and book your space!

    Please visit or call 2232 5579 for enquiries and reservation details.


    The Tragic Truth about Exotics

    The trade in exotic animals has recently increased in Hong Kong, and the Society is concerned by the rise in the number of exotic animals which are rescued by inspectors or surrendered by their owners. In December 2014, we held a talk entitled “Inter-exotic: The Tragic Truth about Exotic Animals” given by Dr Chiu Sein Tuck and Mr Yorkie Wong from the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden. In the talk, the two speakers discussed the trend towards keeping exotic animals in Hong Kong, their subsequent welfare, the topic of misguided animal release (fang sheng) and the problems created by an increasing exotic animal trade.

    We had about 30 participants attend that day. By organising such talks, we hope to spread positive values and a correct understanding of pet ownership, and in doing so promote the concept of animal welfare.


    The Foster Care Workshop

    Every year, the SPCA fosters more than 700 animals. To do this, we need support from foster parents to provide the demanding care to these young animals. In January, we organised a Foster Care Workshop held by our welfare vet, Teresa Lee. More than 30 participants joined to gain knowledge and learn why foster parents are so critical to saving lives and the practical demands that are required of them. Angela Lefknecht, an experienced foster parent who has supported the SPCA for years, also shared her stories, rewards and challenges in fostering animals. The next sessions of the Foster Care Workshop will be held in May and June. Stay tuned if you are interested in joining us and becoming a foster parent to save lives.


    Being a Good Neighbour

    Pets become part of the family, and so as pet owners of course we find our pets adorable. However, our neighbours may not see them in quite the same way. If we respect the needs of others, we should always try and reach out to neighbours to win their hearts. The SPCA puts great effort into creating a respectful atmosphere in Hong Kong society by organising its Harmony in the Community talks.

    In recent months, we have organised a public talk at Sham Cheng with the help of the local District Councillors and private talks at Ocean Shore, Queen’s Garden and Park Island for their residents. We have also participated in events like the Pet Carnival at Residence Bel-Air. In the Harmony in the Community talks we share basic pet care tips and what is meant by responsible pet ownership, such as keeping our dogs on a short leash in public areas, asking permission before going into an elevator with a dog and only allowing your dog to do his or her business in an appropriate place where it is easily cleaned up.

    Please feel free to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you want to share these ideas in your housing estate or in the district where you live.


    Newly Launched Paw Pal Programme

    The SPCA proudly presents the Paw Pal Programme, designed for experienced volunteers to gain more hands-on work with our animals.

    Through this programme we provide a series of training courses, including animal welfare, behaviour and body language, fear and aggression, basic obedience, environmental enrichment, positive reinforcement, how animals learn, the importance of socialisation, and so forth. The Paw Pals are committed to serving 120 hours throughout the year to engage in obedience training, play time and quiet time with our homing animals. This will not only help our animals get out of the kennels to release daily kennel stress and to interact directly with people, it will also enhance their positive learning and behaviour and thus increase the adoptability of our homing animals. 

    Helen Chen, a graduate of the Paw Pal Programme, has been volunteering with the SPCA since October 2013.  “I have been helping regularly with cage cleaning and noticed that some dogs change in behaviour after staying for an extended period of time. The Paw Pal Programme allows us to help the homing animals learn what life could look like once they leave the kennels and can also help the dog and future owner better adapt to each other. This programme also prepares us by providing training on how we can teach dogs new tricks, how to properly play with them and how they should behave when they are in a home environment.”

    We believe Paw Pals is an important volunteer programme which will improve the welfare of our animals, especially the long stayers, as well as contribute towards increasing the adoption and retention of these animals. You can also take part in supporting the Paw Pal Programme by donating to the SPCA to fund our daily operations and our programmes. 


    A Good Start to the New Year

    After almost a decade of effort, the SPCA (HK) has officially entered China by partnering with an adoption centre in Shenzhen. This is good news!

    Having a physical presence in China and more staff on the ground there will enable us to promote animal welfare more directly and effectively.

    This new platform will help us accelerate our educational efforts in China with our target audience being not only children but also the general public. One task is to expand our Humane Education Programme to a new city every year so more children can be given a true understanding of animal welfare. We will also work to actively educate those important stakeholders of animal welfare in China, such as lawmakers, government officials and veterinary associations, through experience sharing of animal welfare related issues.

    Here, we would like to share with you one of our recent Humane Education activities – our annual winter camp for schools – which we held in China just before Chinese New Year in Xiamen.

    The two-day event on February 4 and 5 was attended by 45 students and was designed to be “hands on”. After classroom sessions on animal welfare, the students went out into the community to promote animal welfare concepts, such as “say no to dog and cat meat”, “no fur” and “no animals in entertainment”, as well as having “meatless Mondays”. They used the knowledge they’d gained in the classroom to influence others. This is the effect we would like to see – that the students understand what animal welfare really means and act on it.

    We also screened our animal welfare short films at the camp. The series’ theme song “How can you hurt me?” was very well received by the students. Its beautiful melody is a powerful reminder to be a responsible pet owner, or to at least not harm innocent animals.

    We thank you for your continued support. By working together we can make China a better place for animals.


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  • Happy endings         Monnie, Kama, Ella and Kitty start new lives          24

    Run, Monnie, run

    Monnie’s story is a good example of the value of our foster parent programme – a scheme set up to provide extra care for animals awaiting adoption and to help identify potential homes through networks of friends. 

    Monnie was an energetic dog and required a lot of exercise, which she’d not been getting with her previous owner. In the kennels, Monnie became anxious and hyperactive. She was taken home by one of our experienced foster parents, Angela Lefknecht, who besides walking her regularly to ease her stress introduced Monnie to friends and neighbours who might consider adopting her. Within little more than a month, Monnie had finally found love and her forever home, and a new life in Sai Kung.

    If you can help to foster some of our longer stay dogs and give them a break from living in our adoption kennels please contact our foster parent coordinator on 2232 5524.


    Kama the rocket learner

    Rescued from the street by a kind-hearted member of the public, Kama arrived at the SPCA at about six months old. He was a happy and very exuberant dog, but after his relatively long stay in the kennels, we worried that he would develop behavioural problems.

    Fortunately, the kennel keepers taking care of him were willing to spend extra time in training him. He was taught “sit” and “down” and learnt with rocket speed! Our passionate volunteer dog walker took him out whenever possible to relieve stress and familiarise him with everyday life. His cheerful and outgoing personality, and good manners, finally won out and after about a year of waiting Kama was chosen by Mr Chuk as being the perfect match for his family.


    Eternal love on St Valentine’s Day!

    Ella, a three-year-old female domestic short hair, was surrendered to the SPCA by her owner, citing an allergy problem within the family, a commonly used excuse for giving up pets in Hong Kong. Ella was very frightened by her new environment and stopped eating, so we moved her to a relatively quiet area to help her adapt. She began to eat again and after a month of love and care, she regained her trust in people.

    Ready for adoption, Ella was sent to the cat kennels, where on St Valentine’s Day she met Mr Ho and his family – bringing a very happy ending to the story of her transit through the SPCA.

    * Ella was chosen to receive one year’s free Pet Care Insurance from Blue Cross.


    A three-legged sweetheart

    Kitty, a 13-week-old female, tabby domestic short hair, was rescued through a report made to our hotline. Unable to move, she was suspected of having been hit by a car. The inspectors brought her to the SPCA for further assessment, where our veterinary team decided that her left front leg was so badly fractured it needed to be amputated. Recovering quickly, she could soon walk and play on three legs as if nothing had ever happened.

    Kitty was bright and energetic and shortly found a new home with Mr Tam and his family. After fully explaining Kitty’s needs and scheduling a desexing surgery for when she was old enough, this little strong-willed cat – now renamed Trixie – began her new life with very caring owners! 


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  • Awaiting adoption     Fa Fa, Pei Pei, Chok Chok and Cass           25

    The SPCA always has many lovely animals which are desperate for a new home. If you are confident that you’re ready to adopt a pet, simply have a look at the animals on this page, or visit them in person. If you find the perfect pet for you, simply get in contact and we’ll guide you through the rest of the process. Animal adoptions not only benefit the animals, but they also provide warmth, companionship and a whole lot of fun!


    Fa Fa

    Gender: F

    Age: 18 months

    Number: 327462

    Location: Hong Kong Centre

    I’m a little shy with strangers, but if you get to know me, you’ll see just how sweet I am! I was rescued from a rubbish bin on Peng Chau Island when only a few weeks old and quickly adopted. But I was abandoned again a year later when my adopting family moved to public housing.


    Chok Chok

    Gender: F

    Age: 3 years

    Number: 341000

    Location: Hong Kong Centre

    We are Shar Pei crossbreeds released from an animal cruelty prosecution case and very grateful to the SPCA veterinary team for their love and care. We are now fully recovered and if you are looking for a companion who is calm and quiet, we are very suitable. Please come and get to know us!      


    Pei Pei

    Gender: F

    Age: 2 years

    Number: 340999

    Location: Kowloon Centre



    Gender and age: Indeterminate

    Number: 353640

    Location: Hong Kong Centre


    I’m a red-eared slider terrapin and looking for a kind home! I like to spend half the day lying in the sun and the other half swimming. The SPCA’s homing staff will explain my needs. They are quite simple! Just warmth and light, and a proper diet and care.        


    To know more about our homing animals, please go to


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  • Members’ corner       Events from June to August: horse riding and more…     26 – 27



    We are offering a special rate on our Wellness Clinics in May, June and July 2015

    The Wellness Clinic is a comprehensive (30 minute) veterinary consultation that includes blood pressure measurement and analysis of urine, faecal and blood samples for a fuller picture of your pet’s health, followed by discussion of optimal pet care or further tests which may be of benefit. This service may be combined with your pet’s annual vaccination for your extra convenience.


    Now includes THYROID screening for cats 7 years and above

    Phone an SPCA centre for more details or to make a booking.

    Hong Kong Centre: 2802 0501 or branch clinics as appropriate


    Members’ Events (June – August)

    Horseback Riding Family Day

    Bring your family and experience the excitement of horseback riding and learn more about our trusty friends at the Lo Wu Saddle Club. Highlights of the Horseback Riding Family Day activities will include stable visits, an introduction to equine foodstuffs and shoeing (conducted mainly in Cantonese with some supplementary English), a demonstration of horses being both fed and led, and the opportunity for some horseback riding. 

    Date: June 6 (Saturday)

    Time: 2pm - 3:30pm

    (Transportation to the Lo Wu Saddle Club will leave Kowloon Tong MTR Station at 1pm)

    Location: Lo Wu Saddle Club

    Activity Fee: Member $100, Non-Member $150

    (Covers round-trip transportation)

    Capacity: 25 persons

    To sign up: Please call our Membership Department on 2232 5548 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

    Remarks: Every participating member is eligible to enrol one non-member. Children aged from 4 to 12 years are required to be accompanied by a parent in order to take part in any horse riding.


    Dog Cookies Baking Class

    Date: June 13 (Saturday)

    Time: 2:30 - 4:30pm

    Location: Barking Lot (Stanley Adoption Centre)

    Activity Fee: Member $100, Non-Member $150 Capacity: 10 persons

    To sign up: Please call 2232 5508


    Understanding Cats Seminar

    (Date to be confirmed)


    Foster Parent Workshop

    (Date to be confirmed)


    Exclusive Subscription to Pawprint Online

    Starting from the February 2015 issue of Pawprint, the ability to read full version of Pawprint online will be offered as an exclusive service to SPCA members. The online version comes with the extra feature of a glossary. Members who opt to have an electronic copy of Pawprint will receive notification by email of each issue’s availability online.

    To experience a brand new way of reading, just go to and login by membership number and HKID number.


    Renew via Autopay and receive a gift

    You can now choose to renew your membership, securely and conveniently, via Autopay through your bank or credit card. It is more convenient and allows you to enjoy uninterrupted SPCA services, as well as helping improve animal welfare with your ongoing commitment. In addition, you will receive a B.Duck savings bank (worth $198) as a renewal gift for using Autopay. Please download the Standing Instructions Form from our website: and send the completed form to: SPCA Membership Department, 5 Wan Shing Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong.

    You may now use PayPal to renew your membership, please scan the QR code for details. (Please refer to the pdf version.)

    Please contact Debbie on 2232 5548 if you have any queries.


    10% discount on cruelty-free personal products

    By presenting a valid membership card, SPCA members will receive a 10% discount on the purchase of any product from cruelty-free brands, Bath & Body Works and Yankee Candles from United Depot. This special offer is valid until 30 June 2015. United Depot reserves the right of final decision on the use of the offer.


    10% discount from Greenery Music

    By presenting a valid membership card, Junior Members will receive a 10% discount from Greenery Music on the purchases of Chinese and Western musical instruments, pianos, strings, accessories, music scores, CDs and stationery (except courses, fixed-price & special-price items). Valid until 31 December 2015. Greenery Music Ltd reserves the right of final decision on the use of the offer.


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  • Kids’ corner    All about hamsters: Bor Bor Gives Advice                       28 - 29 

    Get to know your hamster
    How to have healthy, happy hamsters!


    Hamsters are cute! Don’t you agree?

    This is the golden hamster, or Syrian hamster, and is the largest and probably the most popular hamster to keep as a pet. It can grow to be about 15 centimetres in length and usually lives for up to three years, though some do live longer.

    Hamsters are nocturnal animals. This means that they are active at night and sleep for much of the day. Their small size and gentle nature make them a great pet for children. Treated properly they will enjoy being handled. The Syrian hamster likes to live alone and in this way it won’t fight with other hamsters in the cage or have unwanted babies.

    It is very important to provide hamsters with a constant supply of fresh water from a drip-feed bottle with a metal spout and a gnawing block to chew on to stop their teeth from getting too long.

    Hamsters are very active and love exercise. Their cage should be spacious with a running wheel and a tunnel with stairs. They need bedding of wood shavings or shredded white paper in which they can hide.

    To keep them healthy you should feed them a good-quality commercial diet from a sealed bag (containing a mix of seeds and grains) and a small amount of fresh fruit and vegetables. You also have to make sure their cage is neat and tidy. This means cleaning up wet and messy patches every one to two days and giving the cage a full clean once a week.


    Let’s ask the Vet

    Q: Can a hamster eat just sunflower seeds?

    A: No. Like humans, hamsters need a balanced diet to stay healthy. Apart from sunflower seeds, they need to eat a mixture of veggies (e.g. carrots and broccoli), fresh fruits (e.g. blueberries and strawberries) and proteins (e.g. cheese and eggs).


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