The SPCA believes that the reproduction of unowned roaming dogs (both stray and feral) contributes significantly to the surplus dog population and is committed to developing an animal birth-control programme that addresses this, provided that dogs are in a suitable environment.
In many Asian countries, dog TNR is used not only as a means to limit the population but also to control the spread of rabies.
In 2015, after decades of lobbying, SPCA finally obtained approval to conduct a Government approved Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Trial in Islands District. At the same time, the Society for Abandoned Animals was given approval to carry out a trial in Yuen Long District. Unfortunately, despite all the hard work, there are currently only two official trial sites. However, progress has been made as, with Government approval and exemptions under related legislations, it is now possible for dog TNR to be undertaken legally as long as certain conditions and criteria are met. SPCA is continuing the search for more potential TNR trial sites. Given that our TNR programme for cats, the Cat Colony Care Programme, has been so successful, we believe that a wider TNR programme for dogs can be an equally impactful tool to assist with dog management in Hong Kong.
OUTLINE FOR THE TNR TRIAL
The length of the trial is slated for 3 years and will be monitored by AFCD as well as an independent consultant hired by AFCD, who will also develop a scientific and statistically sound population assessment methodology before the trial.
In 2015, two sites were finally approved by the government to commence the Dog TNR trial. Two control sites where no TNR is carried out were also selected by the AFCD and its consultant for comparison purposes.
TNR sites were chosen based on their location, the existence of committed and responsible carers, the suitability of the dogs in the area and the support of the local community.
Results from the trial site will be compared with a similar control site in terms of:
The trial site and a control site in a similar district will be evaluated after 1.5 years and 2.5 years.
The TNR trial is not just about de-sexing dogs and returning them to where they came from.
For sustained success, it requires a systematic understanding of the dog populations that contribute to the problem of overpopulation in any particular area. In that sense, no two locations will be exactly the same.
Though SPCA’s target population is unowned roaming (feral-stray) dogs, SPCA also hopes to study how dog keeping habits of surrounding populations of owned and loosely owned dogs affect the outcome of this TNR trial.
Wherever you live in Hong Kong, please write in to voice your support. TNR should be applicable at many suitable locations across Hong Kong.