Community Education / Animal Birth Control Week on Peng Chau

Like most villages and rural areas in Hong Kong, Peng Chau faces the issues of free roaming animals and irresponsible pet ownership, and animal overpopulation has become a problem there. Residents are forced to deal with noise pollution and poor hygiene in the streets while the animals themselves suffer from overcrowding, inadequate food supplies, territorial disputes / fighting and the production of unwanted litters.

In December 2014, a team of SPCA veterinary surgeons, veterinary assistants, and inspectors collaborated with Peng Chau’s District Council, Rural Committee, as well as other local leaders and volunteers to implement “Community Education/Animal Birth Control Week on Peng Chau”. This outreach project employed a holistic approach to educate residents there on Responsible Pet Ownership and the importance of having their animals desexed, at the same time providing free-of-charge animal desexing on-the-spot.
One of the project’s main challenges was to explain to the local residents why animals need to be desexed and how this can benefit both the animals and community as a whole, given that some people viewed desexing as harmful due to their religious beliefs or lack of knowledge regarding the neutering procedure. Only with the support and understanding of local residents can animal birth control efforts that promote the well-being of pets be sustainable in the long run.  

Considering the geographical constraints of Peng Chau, the Society decided to offer neutering services on-site to avoid stressing the animals with long distance travel. In the end, the project successfully neutered 82 animals and, most importantly, implanted the idea in the community that every healthy and happy neutered animal is a living testament to the benefits of desexing.

The SPCA launched our Mission Zero campaign in 2014 with the aim of achieving a number of ZERO goals. The key target we are striving towards is “Zero Surplus” – the day when not a single healthy and adoptable animal will be without a proper home. Given that such an ambitious objective requires sustained commitment and community collaboration, the SPCA will continue to work closely with Peng Chau to make Zero Surplus happen one day.

Mrs. Fong’s Story

“I don’t want to see the cats suffering. The pain and hurt from the surgery will be unbearable for those little ones!” said Mrs. Fong, a Thai lady who has lived on the island for more than 40 years and has been taking care of numerous unneutered cats and dogs in and around her house for decades.

At first, Mrs. Fong refused to have her cats neutered because she believed that they were “safe” since they usually remained inside her house. However, after an in-depth discussion about the benefits of desexing and the possible negative consequences of having undesexed animals, Mrs. Fong finally agreed to neuter her cats.

The story of Mrs. Fong is not unique but reflects a commonly seen situation on Peng Chau and in other villages such as in the New Territories, constantly reminding us of the importance of proactively visiting such areas to educate and to offer desexing assistance.