SPCA's successful Cat Colony Care Programme (CCCP) has seen over 45,000 cats
Trapped, Neutered and Returned to the streets since 2000.
Since 2000, SPCA has continually lobbied the Government to introduce TNR for dogs, so that the numbers of free roaming, unowned dogs, especially in the New Territories, can be humanely reduced.
Thousands of stray dogs are found on the fringes of residential areas, work sites or construction areas in the New Territories, scavenging rubbish and other waste. Many are loosely owned and hang around businesses and villages, but are not owned by any single person who takes full responsibility for their care. Undesexed and free to roam, the majority of puppies produced exist in the community unowned, often contributing to numerous noise and hygiene complaints.
Many people feed these hungry, unowned animals; some attempt to find homes for the numerous offspring so they will not have to endure a hard life on the streets. However, such carers later realise that the number of young animals being produced far exceed the number of available homes.
TNR utilises existing community support, resources and behaviours to help to manage and control the existing issue of stray animal overpopulation in the area.
Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is also known as Catch, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return (CNVR). TNR targets free roaming, unowned animals in a specific area.
The success of TNR hinges very much on volunteer carers within the community who feed the dogs and are committed to desexing at least 70% of the dogs in the area. Due to their close relationship with the dogs, an important part of their role is to identify problems with individual animals, either before catching or after return.
For TNR to be successful, a high percentage of animals in the target area must be neutered to stop reproduction. 70% is often quoted based on statistical models that would stop a population of animals reproducing. In reality, the percentage varies depending on the situation of the TNR area.
Major factors that affect this percentage are the presence of unneutered owned animals, unneutered abandoned pets and the number of new animals entering the area. The availability of food is also an important factor as a large food source will also attract unneutered animals from surrounding areas.
With the co-operation of the volunteer carers in the community, animals are caught for desexing.
Dogs are brought in for assessment by a veterinarian. Animals unsuitable for return for health or behavioural reasons will be removed from the area. Healthy, friendly animals that are suitable for rehoming may be put up for adoption.
Suitable animals will be neutered, vaccinated against rabies and other diseases, given other preventative health treatments, identified visually and implanted with a microchip.
RELEASE OR RETURN
The desexed animals will be returned to the community where they were living, to be monitored and cared for by their volunteer carer. This carer will continue to work with the SPCA on any complaints or issues that may arise.
Feeding of strays continues as there will always be community members who want to help the thin and hungry animals. However, this also contributes to an increase in population and conflict between carers and less sympathetic members within the community.
Members of the community who object, often call the government to remove dogs from the area, which will be achieved using the current "catch and kill" method of removal. However puppies and easy to catch animals are removed first, leaving behind an increasing number of undesexed, hard to catch dogs.
Without a community consensus for a targeted desexing programme like TNR, stray animals and the related community conflicts they cause will persist.
Wherever you live in Hong Kong, please write in to voice your support. TNR should be applicable at many suitable locations across Hong Kong.