History of TNR In Hong Kong

August 2000

SPCA(HK) launches the Cat Colony Care Programme – a cat TNR programme to help humanely manage the street cat population and lobbies for the introduction of a similar programme for dogs.

2000 - 2005

SPCA(HK) continues to lobby AFCD and the Food and Health Bureau for the introduction of dog TNR. Other Animal Welfare Organisations recognise the benefits of TNR methodology and support it.

The SPCA’s CCCP and the development of a similar TNR programme for dogs is supported by the Animal Welfare Advisory Group of AFCD.

After continued lobbying, the AFCD agree in principle to explore the possibility of a trial programme. 

2006 - 2007

Prior to official District Council (DC) consultation, SPCA meets with numerous District Councilors in all eighteen districts to raise awareness about animal overpopulation and how a dog TNR programme can help. 

During this period, SPCA attends District Council meetings to ask for their support for the programme. 

Nine of eighteen DCs expressed support, seven objected and two abstained. In the districts that eventually opted to abstain, the discussion was generally positive. The first District Council abstained as there were insufficient members present during voting time. The other District Council felt that though the programme was not suited to their district, it might be beneficial to other districts and were uncertain how a vote against the programme would be interpreted and thus, abstained from voting.

Together with AFCD, SPCA HK met with each of the District Councils during the following dates with these results:  

District Council










Central and Western





Wong Tai Sin










Wan Chai





Tsuen Wan





Kowloon City





Kwai Tsing










Yau Tsim Mong










Sham Shui Po





Kwun Tong





Sai Kung





Tuen Mun





Sha Tin





Tai Po





Yuen Long






2008 - 2010

Another animal welfare organisation, the Society for Abandoned Animals (SAA) become interested in assisting with the dog TNR trial.

SPCA and SAA  continued to lobby and discuss the possibility of a TNR trial for dogs; how such a trial can be carried out safely, with minimal risk to both animal and public health and welfare. Other AWO’s such as STOP also help.

October 2010

The Legislative Council passes a motion in support of an “animal friendly policy". TNR is one of the methodologies supported.

2010 - 2011

SPCA and SAA start to identify potential trial sites and propose their inclusion in a future trial to AFCD. 

October 2011

In his policy address, Chief Executive Donald Tsang promises to work with District Councils to look into possibility of Trap-Neuter-Return for stray animal control.

December 2011

AFCD gives approval to SPCA and SAA for public consultations to go ahead on each organisation’s approved sites.

January - March 2012

AFCD organises six public consultations for the SPCA and Society for Abandoned Animals (SAA) to seek public opinion in the implementation of the programme in the proposed trial areas. 

March 2012

Public education and lobbying continues. In collaboration with local volunteers and interest groups, SPCA continues to meet with individual DC members in preparation for another DC consultation in the near future.

May - June 2012

District Councils in Islands, Sai Kung and Yuen Long  discussed and voted on the trial programme. 

Despite all the hard work, the proposed trial was rejected: The Islands District did not agree to the trial, Sai Kung and Yuen Long District Councils would not approve it due to concerns of certain local residents. The SPCA and SAA continued to look for potential sites. 

2012 - 2014

After extensive consultation with local residents, volunteers and the Government, two new sites in Yuen Long and Islands Districts are finally selected for government approval.

January 2015 

The Government gives the go-ahead for Hong Kong's first official dog TNR trial in SPCA and SAA's selected sites. A three year trial begins. 

Background to TNR worldwide


Neutering and returning is introduced as a method of feral cat control. Trap Neuter and Return methodology is formally trialed in the UK and Denmark as an alternative to trap and kill methods. 


Research by the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, UK, demonstrate the cost effectiveness of TNR vs repeated culling programmes. 

At one London colony, the costs of trapping, transportation and surgery were nearly double the estimated costs of a programme of trapping and humane destruction. However the maintenance cost over the next 4 years has been minimal and restricted to the trapping and neutering of a few successful immigrants.

In Neville, P. N. 1989. “Feral cats: management of urban populations and pest problems by neutering”, in R. J. Putman, editor. Mammals as pests. Kluwer, London, page 261–268.

The TNR movement gains momentum as the public opts for more humane alternatives to control feral cat populations.


TNR becomes widely accepted as a non-lethal method of feral cat control in many countries including the US, Europe, Australia, South Africa, India. Universities, hospitals and local authorities report success in the use of TNR in controlling feral cat populations.

In addition to other spay and neuter activities, TNR for cats is one of the measures that helps to reduce the overall kill rate of cats in many parts of the USA.

San Diego, California

Two years after the start of the TNR program in 1992, the total number of cats brought into shelters dropped by more than 34% and the euthanasia rates in county shelters for all cats dropped 40%.

San Francisco, California

In 1993, the SPCA San Francisco and San Francisco Animal Control implemented a city-wide TNR programme. After six years, the number of cats taken into shelters dropped by 28% and euthanasia rates for all cats dropped by 70%. 

Orange County, Florida

In 1995, TNR was introduced by the county’s Animal Control services. After six years, complaints decreased by 25%, the number of animals taken in by the department was also reduced, whilst adoptions increased. During the same period, feral cat euthanasia rates decreased by 18%. 

Late 1990's

In the late 1990s, the SPCA commissioned a feasibility study to see if Trap Neuter and Return would work in Hong Kong.