Issue 81 - 2010/11


Issue 81 - 2010/11-2011/01

Contents

  • Happenings      2 - 3
  • Responsible Pet Ownership     4 - 5
  • Vet Assistants    6 - 7
  • Foster Family Extraordinaire     8 - 9
  • Ken’s Adoption Journey at SPCA     10 - 11
  • SPCA Adoption Programme      12 - 13
  • Letting an Old Friend Go      14
  • Vets’ Case Book      15
  • Vet Profile      16
  • Vet Facts     16
  • Inspector Profile      17
  • SPCA Case Files     18 - 19
  • Saker Falcon Training in Beijing     20 - 21
  • Inspector Jr. — Raptors of Hong Kong    22 - 23
  • Fund Raising      26
  • Education       27
  • Happy Endings     28 - 29
  • click here to download Issue 81 - 2010/11-2011/01


(text only version)

  • Happenings                                               2 – 3     

    The Police Dog Trial took place on October 31 at the Shamsuipo Sports Ground. Jointly organized by the Police Dog Unit and the SPCA, the Trial pits the best of these disciplined canine against one other in two categories: the obedience competition and the ‘man-work’ (attack) competition. The event was completely sold out with 2,000 audience members enjoying the afternoon programme. The SPCA is grateful to the Police Dog Unit, which presented the proceeds of the ticket entries for its ongoing animal welfare mission, and to Dr Chan Tung for his generous donation of $70,000, for animal welfare purposes. SPCA has been involved in the Police Dog Trial since the 50s, and donated the winner’s shield for the event.

    The SPCA’s annual raffle draw successfully concluded on October 11. Our President Gigi Fu drew the lucky winners of a trip for 2 to Tokyo via Cathay Pacific business class and including a stay in the Tokyo Shangri-La Hotel, plus a lot of other attractive prizes. Our thanks go to all the prize sponsors and of course to each of you who have bought or helped sold raffle tickets in aid of animal welfare!

    The SPCA has been working hard to promote Responsible Pet Ownership and Harmony in the Community. In conjunction with the Tsuen Wan and Wan Chai District Councils, we held pet carnivals at the Sha Tsui Road Playground, and the Morton Terrace Playground. The themes of both events are “Be a Good Pet”, and through agility contests, games and quizzes, we spread the message for pet owners to keep their pets under control and in good shape.

    Once again, the SPCA is working with the Hong Kong YMCA to host the SPCA Animal Welfare camp during the Christmas holidays. This exciting adventure for kids aged 10 to 14 features basic animal welfare concepts, a visit to the SPCA adoption and veterinary services operations, a chance to visit and understand issues concerning pet shops, food animals and stray animal birth control, and a visit to local animal welfare facilities. For registration please contact Hong Kong YMCA (tel 2268 7079).

    Again in conjunction with Wanchai District Council, we organised a photo competition entitled “Me and My Pet in Wanchai”. The theme showcased the relationship of pets and owners in an iconic Wanchai setting. Winning entries were on display at the pet carnival at Morton Terrace and will be featured in promotions of Responsible Pet Ownership.

     

     Back to top

     


     

  • Responsible Pet Ownership                      4 – 5

    The key to a great relationship

    Owning a pet brings endless joy to families and friends. We care for them and they bring cheer into our lives. Owning a pet also means taking on new responsibilities to care for our new companion and being mindful of how our pet interacts with those around us-while out for a walk as well as while entering and leaving buildings. 

    When out walking a dog, for example, owners should be considerate of others and appreciate that many people may have real fears of dogs.  Ways to minimise such fears include walking your dog on a short leash, asking neighbors if they are comfortable riding the lift with your dog (and if not, waiting for the next lift), and, especially, not permitting your dog to jump up on others even if your dog is the nicest dog in the dog world and has never and would never harm anyone. The issue here is making others comfortable and respecting the fact that some people simply don’t have a comfort level around animals.     

    Dog owners should be mindful of cleaning up after their dogs during walks.  Nothing puts people off more than the mess and smell associated with abandoned faeces or a puddle of urine awaiting them in the lobby, hallway or parking area.   While the law does not require owners to clean up after urinating, try to have your dog urinate in areas where foot traffic is low and dilute with water. For cat owners, clean litter boxes frequently. 

    Studies have shown that repeated loud noise is an effective form of torture, so barking can lead to angry neighbours and angry neighbours can lead to more restrictions on dog ownership, which no animal lover wants.  Indeed, many SPCA Inspector calls start out as reports of abuse and turn out to be noise nuisance reports. While some people think silencing dogs amounts to a cruel punishment, repeated and extended barking is more likely an indication of something being amiss with the dog.  In general, dogs tend to bark when kept in a quiet environment, (something as simple as adding noise can help) and there is a definite link between lack of exercise and barking always remember a tired dog is the best dog!  However it is best to check with a trainer or behaviourist for advice on each case and best to deal with it by positive re-enforcement. The SPCA strongly discourages stronger measures, such as shock collars, which are cruel. 

    While walking a dog in public, try to pass through crowded areas as quickly as possible.  Avoid bringing dogs into restaurants (unless permitted), and especially avoid allowing your dog to sit at or dine off the table with you. This puts off other diners no matter how cute it may seem to a dog owner. 

    All of these matters are of more importance for larger dogs, which likely frighten others much more than a dachshund or chihuahua. A way to minimise fear of a large dog when walking in public areas is to offer to introduce him to neighbours and also have him wear a muzzle for those few moments when entering or leaving your building.  Neighbors may not want to bring up their fear, but the small gesture on your part will be greatly appreciated. 

    Some buildings require measures like muzzling a dog, so be certain to read the Deed of Mutual Covenant of the estate before entering into an agreement for sales or lease of a flat. Be ready to comply or to continue your search for a more pet-friendly estate.

    Pet ownership is rising in Hong Kong and will continue to do so. The SPCA very much wishes to have companion animals welcomed in our communities as the benefits and rewards are varied and considerable. Please help us by demonstrating that we can all co-exist harmoniously.    

    Ten tips for a good relationship with your well-behaved dog

    1. Respect your dog: respect its life. Recognise that your dog is a dog and will behave like one and that he should be allowed express some normal behaviours.
    2. A well-socialised dog integrates better into the community – don’t start too late with your new puppy – the period up to 12 weeks is an important period in giving your dog a good start in life. Safely socialising your new puppy with a range of people and other dogs in this period and over the next few months can help to prevent problems from developing with strangers later.
    3. Use positive, reward-based training methods (avoid negative punishment based techniques) – treats and attention are always welcomed!
    4. Start early with your training (it’s never too early or too late to start) - make it fun for both parties and practice every day.
    5. Educate yourself on dog training techniques – try to attend a basic training course with your dog and read about the subject before you get one.
    6. Remember to be consistent in the household – different rules and training techniques adopted by different family members are very confusing for your dog.
    7. Get your dog used to wearing a collar and being walked properly on a leash – start in the home getting your dog familiar and comfortable first and then progress to the outside.
    8. Keep your dog busy – they need mental stimulation and physical exercise just like we do. Walk them every day, play with them and give them toys or other forms of enrichment to keep them occupied and happy.
    9. Get your dog used to you handling and examining his ears, mouth and paws making it a positive experience; this should make it easier later when people need to do this for grooming, examination or treatments.
    10. Remember that most problems with dogs are actually caused by problems with owners and that prevention is better and far easier than cure! If a behavioural issue starts to develop, seek early advice.  

    Please visit www.spca.org.hk/bt for information on dog training provided by the SPCA

     

     Back to top

     


     

  • Vet Assistants                                            6 – 7

    The Untiring Warriors of Animal Welfare

    BECKY LIN, ROCKY SHAM, VIVIAN OR

    Inside the animal clinic, the vet assistant (or VA), prepares instruments as the next patient enters. As the vet examines the cat, the VA quietly hands him instruments and gently strokes the animal. She calms the nervous client, making sure they understand what is going on. The next animal the VA assists with is a rabbit or even a snake…all in a day’s work for a SPCA VA.

    At the SPCA, VAs either pursue special interests within the Society’s veterinary clinic, or become a welfare VA working with abandoned, rescued and prosecution animals. We spoke with three SPCA VAs to understand their roles and how they improve the lot of animals.

    SPCA’s Manager of Veterinary Nurse Training and Development, Becky Lin, is a 13 year veteran at the SPCA. Becky’s love for animals led her to become a VA and study both in Hong Kong and the UK. She is a fully qualified UK trained veterinary nurse and is in charge of training all VAs at the SPCA for an Australian vet nursing qualification.

    The VA helps the client understand their pet’s situation. Becky illustrates, “From the vet’s perspective, when an animal is terminally sick, we should do our best to minimise pain and suffering. But as Chinese culture is ingrained with the concept of dying naturally, we need to tactfully convey the vet’s recommendation that euthanasia is in the best interest of animal welfare.” Becky’s wealth of experience enables her to empathise and console her clients during the loss of a beloved pet.

    It takes more than just a love for animals to become a VA. Rocky Sham, another VA from the Society, points out that most of the animals they see are either injured or sick. This is a different picture from the cute, fluffy image that most people have in their minds. No matter how grim the situation, VAs must have the fortitude to work with the vets to try to save each and every animal that comes their way.

    Rocky started off in a private practice five years ago. Under the tutelage of one the vets, he learnt a great deal about veterinary practices. This in turn spurred him to take courses in his free time, and is currently working towards a certificate in veterinary nursing. He believes that a VA’s role in saving lives is akin to a human nurse, and hopes that veterinary nursing in Hong Kong will be become formally recognised and develop a defined qualification framework so more VAs will be encouraged to receive training.

    Another interesting aspect for SPCA VAs is the opportunity to work with wildlife. The occasional injured barking deer, calf, lizard, and even iguanas are brought here for treatment. This variety makes their work more challenging and widens their veterinary expertise.

    All VAs are involved in promoting animal welfare but our welfare VAs work specifically on welfare programmes and issues. One such person is Vivian Or, a welfare VA supervisor, who began to appreciate the concept of animal welfare while living overseas and even earned a qualification in the area. She hopes that the Hong Kong public will treat animals more humanely in the future. 

    Vivian loves the variety of her work as a VA. She believes, “The thing that will ultimately save lives and prevent suffering of many dogs and cats in Hong Kong is spaying and neutering. This can help reduce the stray population and issues within the community.” Vivian is committed and working hard towards this goal. She looks forward to the day when the government will agree to a trial trap-neuter-return scheme for community dogs.

    Over the years, Vivian has seen progress in Hong Kong’s animal welfare but is still saddened by the stream of new cases of abandoned animals. She is also troubled that unscrupulous people are breeding animals for money. Yet Vivian truly believes her work (and that of the SPCA) will bear fruit, and Hong Kong’s animals will have better living conditions.

    Although all three VAs have different perspectives to their work, they all agree that a VA’s work brings them tremendous satisfaction and happiness. They are firmly committed to the profession…Hong Kong’s animals have a great deal to thank our VAs for! 

     

    Back to top 

     


     

  • Foster Family Extraordinaire                      8 – 9

    CARING FOR KITTENS SINCE 2001

    FOSTER FAMILY EXTRAORDINAIRE

    Wayne and Laurie

    Laurie and Wayne like cats. Having fostered more than 120 over the past few years in Hong Kong makes that point rather obvious. While Wayne was initially a “dog guy”, he was overruled at some point by Laurie and hasn’t regretted his decision for a moment. More than 120 kittens have passed through their loving household on the way to permanent homes. Wayne and Laurie enjoy talking about their little friends and can relate stories about each and every cat they’ve fostered, though a few stand out, such as a three-legged cat who gave birth to six babies—all happy and healthy and even mom landed on her feet just fine. Laurie and Wayne are true inspirations for all who revere animals and their welfare.

     

     Back to top

     


     

  • Ken’s Adoption Journey at SPCA             10 – 11

    1. My name is Ken.  I owe my life to the man who hauled me out of a drain 3 months ago.    
    2. The Inspectors put me in the back of a van and drove to the SPCA, where I was carried into the building.
    3. They took me to a room where a vet examined me thoroughly.
    4. When finished, they put me in a cage in a place they called Pending.  I spent the night there, but didn’t get much sleep as dogs, some in terrible condition, were arriving all night long.
    5. Various people visited me. I thought they were playing, but I have a feeling something else was going on.
    6. At one point they put me in a cage and two of them watched me for ages.
    7. My room was beautifully clean with new bed linen every day. Thank you ASP donors – I know you had something to do with this!
    8. “I was amazed how clean they keep the kennels. There were groups of people washing them and cleaning every day.”
    9. They constantly tried to keep me busy and occupied.  Everyone seems so friendly. I know that they are always worried that I may develop stress from being kept for too long in the kennels.
    10. Every week they would take me for a check up with a vet. On one occasion they found a little growth on my head.
    11. Next thing I know, they are operating on me!
    12. “Fantastic food! Never better! Thank you so much for the wonderful food, Mr Hills!”
    13. Some days they would play with me inside a little room that looks like a home. It makes me feel like I am with a real family. They were always teaching me new things!
    14. Every day some nice volunteer dog walker takes me out for a walk and sniff – Love it!
    15. “Seems I am always getting vaccinations – talk about staying healthy!“
    16. It’s a great place, but I have been here for 3 months and I see a lot of my friends going home. Please will somebody consider adopting me?

    Ken is now waiting at the Sai Kung DOG X GOD Centre. Please call our Homing Department at 2232 5529 if you wish to give Ken a loving home!

     

    Back to top 

     


     

  • SPCA Adoption Programme                     12 – 13

    SPCA’s Adoption Programme: Saving Lives by Sharing the Caring

    One of the best known welfare programmes the SPCA runs is the adoption programme, which now places almost 3,000 animals in new homes every year. This initiative is a joint effort by the SPCA and the people of Hong Kong, who open their hearts and homes and through adoption help to save lives. Over the last twenty years—since 1989—the SPCA and the people of Hong Kong have given new homes to over 46,000 animals. The programme has progressed dramatically over time and the SPCA now has  animal adoption available at five centres spread around Hong Kong, which allows the public easier access to visit animals available for adoption and gives more animals the opportunity to be adopted.

    Often people do not realise where the animals in the adoption programme come from. Generally, they are either rescued (in the true sense of the word) or collected by our Inspectorate team, brought in by members of the public who have found them abandoned somewhere, selected from the government animal management centres or surrendered directly by their owners.

    In a routine case after admission, the animals are examined by a veterinary surgeon and before they can go to homing must be vaccinated, and given various medicines to help to make sure they are free from parasites such as fleas, worms and mites. Dogs are also tested to ensure that they are free from heartworm (if they are found to be positive after assessment treatment is instigated). Dogs adopted from the SPCA must be licenced, rabies-vaccinated and licenced in compliance with the laws of Hong Kong. Since 2008, all cats placed in the homing programme have been micro-chipped, which helps to trace lost cats and can also help to monitor responsible pet ownership.

    After the animals enter the adoption programme they are cared for by a large dedicated team of kennel keepers, veterinary surgeons and assistants and volunteers who are supported by the homing assistants.  The homing assistants implement a robust adoption process that focuses on the animals’ future welfare and the lifelong ability of the potential adopter to commit to, and properly care for the animal to be adopted.

    All animals adopted out by the SPCA must be neutered so that they cannot contribute to the problem of pet over population by producing unwanted litters. Many people are aware of this concept for dogs and cats, but the policy at the SPCA also applies to rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas.

    With adoption lots of factors have to be considered, but mainly the SPCA tries to match the animals and the adopter—ensuring that the animal they are considering can fit into their family life and that their family can meet all the animal’s current and future needs.

    One of the biggest hurdles that can be faced when considering getting a pet is whether the adopters can actually take the animals into their home. The SPCA will not adopt out animals to families who live in a place where that type of animal will not be allowed. Often people may think that the SPCA’s adoption process is bureaucratic, but with its many years of experience in this field the adoption rules and policies have developed in an attempt to ensure the animal’s welfare in the long term, as well as trying to prevent heartbreak in the family that adopts if subsequently they can no longer keep the animals.  “Housing does not allow” and “family member does not agree” are frequently cited reasons for owners to surrender their pets—the SPCA tries to ensure the animals it adopts out also do not have this fate.

    Over the past ten years, the SPCA has upgraded its adoption facilities and started novel programmes to ensure that the SPCA gets maximum benefit for the maximum number of animals. The SPCA Wan Chai headquarters and Kowloon centre facilities were considered cutting edge and innovative when they opened in the early nineties and the design concepts have been used as a model around the world for how to create an environment that balances the needs of a safe, caring area for the animals with the ease of access needs of the visiting adopting public while at the same time ensuring that the animals could be practically and safely cared for during their stay with us.

    In 2003 the SPCA’s Mong Kok adopt-a-pet centre opened. The concept behind this centre is to place animals available for adoption in the heart of a district where traditionally there is high area of pet trade-related business – giving potential pet owners the option of adopting instead of shopping.

    In 2008 the SPCA’s DOG X GOD centre opened in Sai Kung town.  This time the concept was to raise awareness of the issues surrounding the Tong Gau (or traditional Hong Kong mongrel) while at the same time placing those mongrels for adoption.  The larger sized flats around Sai Kung are more appropriate for homing these medium sized dogs.

    The SPCA with the support of the community continues to help find homes for Hong Kong’s abandoned animals and will continue to develop and enhance its adoption programme, but the SPCA also recognises that adoption alone won’t solve the problem of overpopulation and abandonment and that there needs to be community effort to prevent and minimise these negative outcomes for animals through education and neutering. 

    Zero Surplus Figures
    July - September 2010

    Released or referred

    40

    Sent to Foster

     

    » Dog

    58

    » Cat

    162

    » Others

    10

    TOTAL

    230

     

     

    CCCP

    1407

     

     

    Homing Figures

     

    » Dog

    156

    » Cat

    323

    » Other

    172

    TOTAL

    651

     

     

    Desexing Figures

    3223

     

     

    Inspector Calls

    10664

    Rescues

    395

    Trade insp

    277

    Advice

    63

    Warning

    15

    Prosecute

    5

     

     

     

     Back to top

     


     

  • Letting an Old Friend Go                           14

    Letting an Old Friend Go
    By Marc Bekoff*

    “COME ON, MARC, it’s time for a hike ... or dinner ... or a belly rub.”

    I was constantly on call for Jethro (right), my companion dog, my very best friend, a German shepherd-rottweiler mix with whom I shared my home for 12 years. I rescued Jethro from the Humane Society but, in many ways, he rescued me.

    Then, in his old age, it became clear that our days together were numbered. I realised that the uninhibited and exuberant wagging of his whiplike tail – which fanned me in the summer, occasionally knocked glasses off the table, and told me how happy he was – would soon stop.

    What should I do? Let him live in misery or help him die peacefully, with dignity? It was my call and a hard one.

    Just as I was there for him in life, I needed to be there for him as he approached death, to put his interests before mine, to help end his suffering, to help him cross into
his mysterious future with grace, dignity and love. Easier said than done.


    It’s great to be trusted and loved, and no one does those things better than
dogs. Jethro was no exception. But
along with trust and love come many
serious responsibilities and difficult moral choices.

    I find it easiest to think about dog trust in terms of what they expect from us. They have great faith in us. They expect we’ll always have their best interests in mind, that we’ll care for them and make them as happy as we can.

    Because they’re so dependent on us, we’re also responsible for making difficult decisions about when to end their lives, to “put them to sleep”. I’ve been faced with this situation many times and have anguished trying to do what’s right for my buddies. Should I let them live a bit longer or has the time really come to say goodbye?

    When Jethro got old and could hardly walk, eat, or hold his water, the time had come for me to put him out of his misery. He was dying right in front of my eyes and, in my heart, I knew it. Even when eating a bagel he was miserable.

    Deciding when to end an animal’s life is a real-life moral drama. There aren’t any dress rehearsals and doing it once doesn’t make doing it again any easier.

    Jethro knew I’d do what’s best for him and I came to feel that often he’d look at me and say, “It’s OK. Please take me out of my misery and lessen your burden. Let me have a dignified ending to what was a great life. Neither of us feels better letting me go on like this.”

    Finally, I chose to let Jethro leave Earth in peace. After countless hugs and I love you’s, I swear that he knew what was happening when he went for his last car ride and that he accepted his fate with valour, grace and honour.

    And I feel he told me that the moral dilemma I faced was no predicament at all; that I had done all I could and that his trust in me was not compromised one bit – but, perhaps, strengthened; that I had made the right choice; that I could go on with no remorse or apologies.

    Let’s thank our animal companions for who they are. Let’s rejoice and embrace them as the amazing beings they are.

    If we open our hearts to them we can learn much from their selfless lessons in compassion, humility, generosity, kindness, devotion, respect, spirituality and love. By honouring our dogs’ trust we tap into our own spirituality, into our hearts and souls.

    And sometimes that means not only killing them with love, but also mercifully taking their lives when their own spirit has died and life’s flame has been irreversibly extinguished.

    Our companions are counting on us to be for them in all situations, to let them go and not to let their lives deteriorate into undignified humiliation while we ponder our own needs in lieu of theirs. We are obliged to do so. We can do no less.

    * Marc Bekoff teaches biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, USA. Visit his website at http://literati.net/Bekoff

     

     Back to top

     


     

  • Vets’ Case Book                                        15

    Nictitans Gland Prolapse
    (Dislocated Tear Gland or Cherry Eye)

    ‘Fan Shu’ is a bulldog that was brought into the clinic at 5 months old with a red lump on the corner of his right eye.  We confirmed that it was a prolapse of the nictitans (tear) gland; prolapse means to slip or fall out of place.  Because the red mass resembles a cherry, the condition is commonly known as ‘cherry eye’.   The gland is normally tucked under the third eyelid, but can pop out if the ligaments holding the gland become loose or traumatized.  This condition can happen quite commonly in young dogs and certain dog breeds such as Bulldogs, Pekingeses, Cocker Spaniels, and Lhasa Apsos.

    Untreated, the exposed gland can become dry, inflamed and infected, leading to ocular discharge and obstructed vision. 

    An older treatment method was to treat the gland like a tumour and have it removed.  However, because the gland produces approximately 30% of tears to the eye, removal of the prolapsed gland is now often not recommended, as this can lead to chronic dry eyes.  Chronic dry eyes can be a blinding condition that requires life-long eye drops to manage.  Unfortunately, many breeds prone to developing nictitans gland prolapse are also prone to developing dry eyes, so protecting the gland is important.

    The best treatment is surgery to replace the gland to its normal position, with higher success rates reported the sooner surgery is done.  ‘Fan Shu’ had his prolapsed tear gland surgically replaced with a ‘pocket’ technique, where two incisions were made on the 3rd eyelid to create a small hole or pocket, and the gland tucked into it and sutured.  Very fine dissolveable sutures were used, and the stitches were buried into the wound to minimize any eye irritation.  Normal swelling subsided within a few days, and at checkup 7 days after surgery, ‘Fan Shu’s eye looked a lot more comfortable, and he was back to his handsome self!

     

     Back to top

     


     

  • Vet Profile                                                  16    

    Dr. Elizabeth Bolin
    Title: Veterinary Surgeon
    Nationality: Australian

    Academic Qualifications:
    Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc), The University of Sydney

    After qualifying in 2005, Elizabeth worked as a companion animal veterinary surgeon for the Wollongong Veterinary Hospital, a first-class clinic with 7 other vets. This experience provided her with a good grounding in veterinary practice and effective customer service.

    Subsequently, Elizabeth moved to North Queensland, Australia, where she continued to work with small animals and developed a good relationship with the local wildlife movement and turtle watch association. 

    “I found myself walking the beaches in the wee hours of the morning hoping to catch a glimpse of a female sea turtle as she made her way up the sand dunes to nest, but I was never lucky enough to catch sight of one of these reclusive ladies”, Elizabeth says.  “However, I did witness the hatching of a clutch of eggs one boxing day—I was lucky that the turtle had laid her eggs just next to the path that led to the beach from the back of my house.”  

    A relatively recent arrival to Hong Kong with her husband and son, Elizabeth has adapted quickly to her new work at the SPCA.

    “I enjoy being part of the fabulous team at the SPCA,” she says.  “The dedication and passion for animal welfare that everyone within the organisation shares is inspiring. I think Hong Kong is very lucky to have such a fabulous resource and I am lucky to have the opportunity to be part of the team.”

     

    Back to top 

     


     

  • Vet Facts                                                    16

    Eyes

    Many pets arrive at our clinic with eye problems, so here are a few descriptions of common maladies that can help you know what might be going on with your pet.  The eyes are an extremely important organ and what people often don’t realise is that the eyes are often a mirror into the health of your pet.

    Normal eyes are glistening and clear. There should be no excessive blinking, discharge, redness or rubbing of the eye which can be characteristic of eye disease.

    Commonly presenting conditions that involve the eye are;

    1. Cataracts: Appear as cloudy areas in normally clear lenses, restricting vision. Surgery can sometimes resolve the problem. This procedure is limited to periods when overseas specialists visit Hong Kong. Cataracts can be one of the first tell tale signs of diabetes in dogs, necessitating early veterinary intervention.
    2. Conjunctivitis: The infection and inflammation of the soft tissues around the eye, leading to redness, swelling, discharge and discomfort.
    3. Corneal Ulcers: frequently occur due to self-trauma, but also from metabolic abnormalities. The underlying cause must be addressed and the ulcer managed for the comfort of the animal and so that it does not progress to a full thickness rupture. Ulcerated eyes with inappropriate non-veterinary treatment are very susceptible to deterioration.
    4. Glaucoma: describes an increase in pressure within the eye, where in the majority of cases the cause remains largely unknown. Classically presenting as a red, painful eye, this disease is a medical emergency, as there can be a rapid worsening to a blind eye. Treatment is geared towards maintaining a normal pressure within the eye, although in some cases good control is impossible.
    5. Keratoconjunctivitis (KCS or “Dry Eye”): This is a common condition, often amoungst flat faced dogs, and is usually due to an autoimmune related destruction of the tear-producing glands. A dull looking cornea with discharge attached to the surface is a classical signs of fairly advanced disease: a one minute test can help to confirm this. Treatment consists of lifelong intervention with ocular lubricants and a drug to control the autoimmune disorder. Untreated eyes lead to recurrent infections and predispose the eyes to ulceration. 

    If you think that your pets eyes may have one of these conditions please arrange for a consultation with your veterinarian. Early intervention can prevent long term irreversible damage.

     

    Back to top 

     


     

  • Inspector Profile                                         17

    Working on the Wild Side
    An interview with Berry Ng, SPCA Inspector

    How long have you been with the SPCA?

    I have been with the SPCA for over ten years. As an Inspector, we rescue all kinds of animals, not just dogs and cats. I have also handled wild animals such as boars, squirrels and even barking deers!

     

    What kinds of animals do you rescue?

    We get quite a lot of calls from the public about injured or trapped wild animals, and sometimes even in urban areas. As our city expands, these wild animals find that their natural habitat are destroyed or developed, and they are often forced to stray into urban areas for food, and sometimes causing nuisance to the public.

     

    How does rescuing a wild animal differ from rescuing companion animals?

    I am sure you have heard of reports of wild boars or monkeys finding themselves in residential areas. Often it is because they are in unfamiliar territory and accidentally get knocked down by passing vehicles or trapped in railings. Most wild animals, such as barking deer, are very timid. In these situations, we have to be very careful in handling them lest they die of fright. When we conduct such rescues, we have to make sure there is minimum stress to the animal, and at the same time be as fast and safe as possible. Thus rescuing wild animals pose a much bigger challenge than saving pets!

     

    What do you do after you rescue a wild animal?

    If the rescued wild animal is in good health and if the environment is suitable, we will normally release the animal back into the wild. For those which are injured or very young, we will transfer them to the Kadoorie Farm for care and rehabilitation.

     

    How do you feel about rescuing wild animals?

    Sometimes a wild animal has to be put down due to the severity of its injuries. I feel very sad in such cases that our urban development and progress is at the expense of the lives of these extraordinary creatures.

    I hope that pet owners will also extend their care and concern to wild animals, and help protect our natural environment so that the wild animals can continue to live on peacefully

     

    What is your most memorable incident as an Inspector?

    Some time back, we conducted a rescue in Tsimshatsui. A cat was trapped on a tree. As always the area is busy with pedestrians and tourists, but we were able to retrieve the cat quickly to safety. I was getting ready to leave when a huge bearded Western person tapped me on the shoulder and yelled, “You were so wonderful!” He then gave me a hug and a kiss. It turned out that he was an Australian tourist and was impressed by what we did. While I have received all types of gratitude in the course of rescue, this is the first time I was kissed by a man!

     

    Berry joined the SPCA as an assistant inspector in 1999 and became an Inspector in the year 2000. With its vast experience in animal rescue and cruelty investigations, Berry believes that the Inspectorate team will continue to be an excellent model to the rest of Asia.

     

    Zero Surplus Figures
    July - September 2010

    Released or referred

    40

    Sent to Foster

     

    » Dog

    58

    » Cat

    162

    » Others

    10

    TOTAL

    230

     

     

    CCCP

    1407

     

     

    Homing
    Figures

     

    » Dog

    156

    » Cat

    323

    » Other

    172

    TOTAL

    651

     

     

    Desexing Figures

    3223

     

     

    Inspector Calls

    10664

    Rescues

    395

    Trade insp

    277

    Advice

    63

    Warning

    15

    Prosecute

    5


     

    Back to top 

     


     

  • SPCA Case Files                                       18 – 19

    From June 2010 to August 2010, the SPCA Inspectorate received a total of 10,932 calls and handled 1,804 animals. SPCA Inspectors rescued 456 animals, investigated 331 complaints, and consulted inspections of 58 pet shops and 214 wet markets.

     

    JUNE (Rescued)

    A dog trapped inside a sandpit of about 3 metres below ground in Tai Po was freed by SPCA inspectors and taken to SPCA hospital.

     

    JUNE (Rescued)

    Inspectors rescued a dog with an open wound at the elbow of its right front limb in Diamond Hill Cemetery; the dog was taken to the SPCA hospital.

     

    JUNE (Rescued)

    A cat trapped inside a water pipe of a village house in Fo Tan was freed by SPCA inspectors returned to its owner.

     

    JUNE (Rescued)

    A Fish Owl with injured eyes and wing was found in a ship yard in Tsing Yi and was rescued by SPCA inspectors and taken to Kadoorie Farm
    for treatment.

     

    JULY (Prosecuted)

    A person was prosecuted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance for leaving a rabbit in an unattended pet shop in Tuen Mun, which resulted in the death of the rabbit.

     

    JULY (Prosecuted)

    A person was prosecuted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance for confining 2 dogs in a cage on the roof of a residential building in Sham Shui Po without shelter and water.

     

    JULY (Convicted)

    Regarding the prosecution case reported in the last issue of PawPrint (the person who was prosecuted for keeping about 40 dogs and 30 cats in poor condition and lack of care in a village house in Ma On Shan), the defendant was convicted at the Shatin Magistracy on three counts of animal cruelty and one count of keeping dogs without license. He was sentenced to 14 days imprisonment and fined $7,000.

     

    JULY (Rescued)

    A young bat found lying on ground in Tsuen Wan was rescued by SPCA inspectors and taken to Kadoorie Farm for custody and care.

     

    JULY (Rescued)

    A puppy found trapped in a drainage gut in Kwai Chung was rescued by SPCA inspectors and returned to the care of the mother dog.

     

    JULY (Rescued)

    A cat was trapped in the balcony of a vacant residential flat in Tai Wai was rescued by SPCA inspectors and returned to its owner.

     

    AUGUST (Rescued)

    A cat trapped under the railing of a road divider in Kowloon Tong was rescued by SPCA inspectors and taken to SPCA hospital for custody and care.

     

    AUGUST (Rescued)

    A dog with its tail twisted round by iron wires on the hillside in Kowloon City was rescued and freed by SPCA inspectors. It ran away afterwards.

     

    AUGUST (Rescued)

    A Eurasian Sparrowhawk found inside a shop in Cheung Sha Wan was rescued by SPCA inspector and taken to Kadoorie Farm for custody and care.  See story on p. 22 to learn more about raptors!

     

    AUGUST (Rescued)

    A cat tapped on the signboard on the first floor of a residential building in Yau Ma Tei was rescued by SPCA inspectors and taken to SPCA hospital for custody and care.

     

     Back to top

     


     

  • Saker Falcon Training in Beijing                20 – 21

    Saker training in beijing
    SPCA Coaches Beijing Raptor Rescue Center on Rehabilitating Falcons

    The Saker Falcon bobs her head as she focuses on the lure laid on the ground 50 metres away. She opens her wings, momentarily hesitates, and then makes the short flight to the food tied onto the lure. It’s late September and the powerful bird is being trained by staff of the Beijing Raptor Rescue Centre (BRRC), with the help of SPCA’s Rupert Griffiths, in preparation for release.

    It is already Rupert’s second week in Beijing and the Saker, one of two undergoing training, is almost ready to make her first free flight. However, it is the staff of the centre that are the real star students as they have picked up the skills taught by Rupert in record time. The centre employs 4 staff but only Gavin and Steele are being trained in falconry techniques today. 

    “Gavin and Steele have got very natural and intuitive ability when it comes to bird training. I could not have hoped for better students,” says Rupert about the two BRRC staff.  “It can take years and years to perfect these skills but I feel that these two have got a good chance of getting these birds flying free and fit enough for release quite soon!”

    For many species of raptor a large aviary will suffice for pre-release exercise but for some species, including the Saker Falcon and the Peregrine Falcon, falconry techniques—developed for the ancient sport of falconry hundreds of years ago—have been shown to improve post release survival significantly. These two species of falcon are the athletes of the raptor world and their relatively small wings, shaped like those of a jet plane, are designed for speed and pursuit. The Peregrine Falcon has been recorded doing vertical dives in excess of 200 mph and young Peregrines spend significantly longer time with their parents developing these flight skills than other raptors. Unique species like these require special rehabilitation measures and the falconry techniques that Rupert is teaching today have been adapted for rehabilitation. They include daily high-jumping exercises and free-flying to a swung lure, the best way to develop the muscle, flight skills and fitness necessary for survival after rehabilitation and release.

    It was partly in response to the illegal trade in Saker Falcons that the BRRC was established in 2001, a collaboration between Beijing Normal University and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). From the outset, the purpose of the centre was to set an example for other rehabilitation centres in China and Asia to follow. It boasts outstanding facilities including intensive care rooms, spacious indoor and outdoor enclosures, modern veterinary facilities, a flight aviary and an education room. The centre admits approximately 300 raptors each year and operates according to up-to-date rehabilitation principles and modern animal welfare ethics.

    Everyone loves the release of a wildlife casualty from a rescue center, but few people understand the challenges and the work involved preparing these birds for their future life.

    Rupert Griffiths, SPCA HK 

    The opportunity for the SPCA to provide training and educational support to the BRRC came about due to the request of the veterinarian based at the centre. Dr Kati Loeffler started at the centre in Spring of 2009 and her presence has already had a dramatic effect on the operation of the centre through her implementation of more systematic procedures that have raised the standards of both clinical care and basic husbandry. Indeed, since she started at the centre the percentage of raptor admissions that can be released has jumped to 67% from 54%. Despite the improvements, Dr Kati realised that the centre was lacking staff with experience in the fitness training techniques required for some species and she so she contacted Rupert Griffiths for help.

    Rupert joined the SPCA in August as the Welfare Research and Development Manager. He has many years of experience in wildlife rehabilitation, especially with birds of prey. His techniques for rehabilitating large falcons were initially developed while working at Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden in HK from 1994 to 2004. But it was during a 5 year period working as Manager of an RSPCA Wildlife Centre in Somerset, UK, that he really got the opportunity to test these techniques with radio-tracking studies and further improve them.

    Today, working in the pale autumn sunlight of Beijing, he instructs Gavin to return the Saker Falcon to its perch and try an even longer flight. “Everyone loves the release of a wildlife casualty from a rescue centre” says Rupert, “but few people really understand the challenges and the amount of work involved in preparing these birds for their future life.”

    If all goes according to plan, both Saker Falcons will be flying free within days and then it will be time to develop their flight skills and fitness. Winter is on its way and life in the wild is tough, competition for food and resources is fierce, and only the fittest will survive. The welfare of the falcons depends on their ability to compete on equal terms with their wild counterparts and only then can the rehabilitation process be considered a success. Let’s hope that this support from the SPCA has helped enable the Beijing Raptor Resource Centre to achieve this success with these two birds and to continue their good work with many more falcons in the future.

     

    Back to top

     


     

  • Inspector Jr. — Raptors of Hong Kong      22 – 23

    Hong Kong’s Raptors

    Those large eagle-like birds that effortlessly soar over the harbour and amongst the skyscrapers are a kind of raptor known as Black Kites. We are not talking about dinosaurs here, Jurassic Park’s dinosaurs share the name “raptor”, but that is only because they share the hunting method of birds of prey: they grasp their prey!

    The link between dinosaurs and raptors goes a bit beyond the name alone, as birds evolved from dinosaurs, and so the Black Kites in Victoria harbour could be considered to be the distant descendants of the Velociraptors. While we’ve all seen the Black Kites, many people are surprised to discover that there are 35 other species of raptor in Hong Kong ranging from tiny hawks to huge vultures, you just need to know where to look to find them.

     

    Black Kites

    While a few dozen pairs of Black Kites breed here in the spring, many hundreds arrive from northern areas of China in autumn. Numbers swell from the summer population of about 200 to over 1000 birds making it our most common raptor. In winter huge, flocks can be seen at dusk coming into to roost at favourite sites such as Magazine Gap and the Peak.

     

    Kings of the Sea

    Sharing the harbour with the kites is an impressive eagle that can weigh 3 times as much, the White-bellied Sea Eagle. This large eagle is mainly found on the coasts of the outlying islands and Sai Kung but it does occasionally frequent urban areas and has even been seen perching on buildings in Wanchai North. White-bellied Sea Eagles are especially fond of fish and snakes and they possess amazing skills of flight and control as it they snatch their prey from the surface of the water. There is another raptor in Hong Kong that has even greater fishing skills, and that is the Osprey, a bird which is capable of diving much deeper into the water to pull out its catch. Ospreys prefer the coast on the western side of the New Territories and are mainly found in the Deep Bay area near Mai Po Marshes. A third raptor that specialises in catching fish is the Brown Fish Owl, a very large owl that can be found in the Sai Kung Area. It prefers estuaries and has lost almost all of it’s habitat to development.

     

    Woodland Residents

    Hong Kong’s maturing woodlands, have resulted in a blooming of resident woodland raptor species including hawks eagles and owls, the most common of which are the Crested Goshawk and the Collared Scops Owl.

    Totally absent in Hong Kong just a few decades ago, the Crested Goshawk was rediscovered in the 1980’s and quickly became the second most common raptor, being found in woodlands on Hong Kong Island and throughout the New Territories. They are powerful and fearless predators and can hunt prey as large as themselves. But they are also elusive and rarely seen, spending most of their time under the canopy of the woodlands they love so much.

    The Collared Scops Owl is a small owl that can be found throughout the SAR where suitable woodland exists whether it be deep in the forest or in an urban park. They can be heard making their soft mournful hoots all through the night repeated at intervals of about 10-15 seconds.

     

    The Deep Bay Eagles

    The area around Deep Bay, from Mai Po marshes and extending along the border to Lo Wu, is a hotspot for Hong Kong raptors. Here you can come across the Spotted Eagle, the magnificent Imperial Eagle and the absolutely gigantic Eurasian Black Vulture, a bird that stands almost a metre tall and has a wing span of up to 3 metres. These three giants are winter visitors, with a dozen or so of the Spotted and the Imperial Eagles visiting between October and April, and a handful of Black Vultures visiting every few years. 

     

    The Wandering Migrants

    Hong Kong is especially lucky to be on an important migration route for some raptor species that drop in to rest before continuing their migration. This gives us a chance to see some fascinating species including the Chinese Goshawk, the Grey-Faced Buzzard, the Oriental Scops Owl and the Northern Boobook Owl, all of which spend the winter south of Hong Kong and the summer in the North. These raptors can turn up literally anywhere and some of them can sometimes be seen in huge migrating flocks of 100 or more.

     

    Rescue and Conservation

    So Hong Kong really does have a very diverse range of raptors and is great news that some species seem to be doing so well, but we must not forget that others are losing important habitat and we need to ensure remaining habitats in Hong Kong are conserved. Individual birds occasionally become injured or are found exhausted and the SPCA Inspectorate does an excellent job of rescuing between 30 and 50 raptors each year. These birds are passed to Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden for rehabilitation and thankfully, with their good work, over half of these rescued raptors are released back into the wild.

     

    Back to top

     


     

  • Fund Raising                                              26

    Charity Sales New Product

    The popular SPCA canvas tote bag has return! With two patterns to choose from and durable canvas for easy care, you can show off your animal fashion sense. Available at SPCA charity stalls for just $88, or from the Fundraising Department at 2232 5543 or 2232 5540.

     

    SPCA 2011 Calendar

    Thank you for supporting SPCA 2011 Dogs and Cats Calendars. This year SPCA has created a new style of calendar which will certainly surprise you. For those who liked the old style, we won’t let you down. There are more than 365 animal photos in the calendar and the retail price is HK$120 for both wall or desk calendars. The calendar will be ready for sale from 8 November, 2011 in all SPCA Centres and our Charity Sales Booths in different area of Hong Kong. Free delivery for bulk purchase—for enquiry please contact SPCA Fundraising Department at 2232 5540. The whole amount raised is donated to animal welfare.

     

    How To Help Animals In Your Private Party?

    Have you wondered how to help SPCA get donations during your next party? Paulson has just had a meaningful birthday party this year because Paulson’s mother, Mrs. Yung, has arranged a donation box from the SPCA to display at her party. Guests were welcome to donate money into the box. Mrs. Yung has prepared each guest a colorful SPCA pin as a gift to take home. During the party, Mrs. Yung also helped to sell SPCA Raffle Tickets to guests to raise funds for SPCA.  Now you can do the same at your next party!  Help SPCA HK spread its message of:

    • Loving animals
    • Respecting animals
    • Helping animals

    Paulson’s party has helped to raise HK$4,970. SPCA deeply appreciates the Yung family’s help.  If you want to have a meaningful party like Paulson, please contact SPCA Fundraising Department at 2232 5540.

     

    Back to top

     


     

  • Education                                                   27

    Mementos - A gentle reminder to out students

    When we hold a souvenir from a beloved relative or cherished holiday, we are reminded of precious moments and shared experiences.  These items are not valued for their high price tags, but because they bring to mind something special for the owner. 

    It is that special magic of a souvenir we hope to capture when we unveil the first in our series of SPCA educational keepsakes.  This year’s unique memento is a beautiful bookmark specially designed to conjure up the connection between our talks, tours and kindness towards animals.  Each time a child views the bookmark they will recall the important messages imparted during the SPCA educational series.  Going forward, we want to capture a different ‘teaching moment’ with each lovingly crafted token given to our impressionable students. 

    The unveiling of this bookmark is notable for more than just how it will speak to the recipients, but also for what it says about the generosity that exists in our community.  The gracious sponsorship by the HOCC Charity Fund (何韻詩慈善基金) for donating the printing costs, their volunteer team with 30 members tying ribbons on 19,000 bookmarks, and the personal dedication of Chairwoman Mrs. Ho, are a testament that humane animal treatment resonates throughout Hong Kong.  Many thanks also go out to Alliance Primary School, Whampoa, for kindly providing the venue for the volunteers to work on the day.  So much cooperation has made this a truly collaborative and heartfelt endeavor. 

    We are looking forward to the development of each new memento by a community of animal lovers and distributed to the next generation of compassionate stewards of our Earth. 

     

    Back to top

     


     

  • Happy Endings                                           28 - 29

    Tracie

    At SPCA HK, while we are often pointing out problems in how animals are treated poorly in our society, we also like to take some time to highlight the “Happy Endings”. These stories of responsible owners and pampered pets should give us all a warm feeling and encourage our sense of peaceful and content co-existence.

    Early in life, Tracie was painfully shy with humans, but she loved other dogs. On top of that, she was extremely fearful of unfamiliar environments so walks were very difficult. Physically, Tracie had deformed legs. She was found as an abandoned pup next to a busy road and was rescued by the SPCA Inspector Team.

    Due her young age, she was fostered out before returning to SPCA. She stayed at the Wanchai kennels for a while, but it was decided she would do better in the quitter environment of Kowloon. Despite all her behavioral problems, Tracie showed a gentle disposition to people who cared for her and they all felt she could overcome her issues.

    Her keeper Fanny and trainer Beanie Tam spent a lot of time getting her out of her shell through training and positive reinforcement. For example, during her walks when she sat out of fear, they would wait until she was ready to walk before continuing. This was to prevent a negative association with her leash and walks. Beanie would bring her everywhere so she would associate humans positively. The SPCA team screened me carefully to make sure we were a match. Till today, they are convinced Tracie chose me (apparently I was the only stranger she had allowed to touch her during the very first visit). After she came home with me, Beanie followed up closely to ensure her behavioral problems were addressed. On his advice, Tracie continued with basic obedience training and she graduated! She also became more comfortable with walks and I was able to reduce 5 short walks a day (to get her to be comfortable with the environment) to 2 long walks. She has become so confident now, she’s even able to walk side by side without a leash.

    Her keepers also see Tracie once a month to catch up on her progress and it’s a delight to see Tracie so excited to see her friends at the SPCA. After all that care and training, she’s able to socialize with humans and dogs. She has a constant stream of fans where we stay (you should see how many visitors she gets a day) and she’s a minor celebrity at SPCA when she returns to visit. Tracie now spends her time pretending to be a corgi, going for long walks, playing tag, sleeping in the sun, making new human and doggy friends, and catching the occasional insect. —Ms. Lovey Chin

     

    Bambi

    Dogs are humans’ best friend. From time to time, I had always heard this phrase, but now, I believe so. There is no psychiatrist in the world like a dog licking your face. And I truly believe so. Dogs are miracles with paws, and it is my greatest pleasure to have Bambi in my life. Friends always comment on Bambi’s name and one said, “Bambi? Isn’t that a deer?” And I would reply, “Yes, because he’s as dear as a deer.” I am not just joking, I truly meant it. Bambi is my faithful companion, and we are sure we‘ll be very happy together. I will love him and I believe that he will be faithful to me, forever and always. If dogs are such brilliant, why not experience yourself? Adopting means saving a dog’s life, thus making your life more complete and beautiful. Why not adopt? When you do, you will experience what I am experiencing now. Dogs will always be loyal to us, no matter what we do. Bambi, thank you for being my best friend.       

     —Abbie Lam

     

    Wong Jai

    Wong Jai was rescued by SPCA Inspectors from a cemetery in Diamond Hill in early July, where he subsisted on the food offerings left by relatives at family graves.  Within about two months, Wong Jai was adopted by a family whose home and hearts have opened to numerous animals over the years.  Listening to Ms Gloria Chan describe Wong Jai, it was difficult to separate him from all the other animals of the household, which include QQ the rabbit (one of three rabbits, who was saved from becoming a BBQ dish, thus earning the appropriate and name), two cats, a bird, five dogs, and, in particular, a dog named Cody, who has become best friends with Wong Jai.   Perhaps Cody and Wong Jai hit it off so easily because they share the same plight:  each of them lost a leg at some point in their early life.   Gloria Chan knows each pet so well that it’s impossible to discuss just Wong Jai because they share a web of relationships.  For example, Wong Jai was first scared of the cats and had to slowly adapt to them, but he got along well with QQ the rabbit.  Wong Jai saw how Cody was intimidated by the Doberman, so he stepped in as peacemaker.  

    At first, Wong Jai was a picky eater.  Accustomed to roast pork and other rich offerings left in the cemetery (unhealthy for dogs), Ms Chan found that mixing some canned food with his dry food made for more appetising fare and he soon began putting on weight.   Wong Jai is a quiet dog, but enjoys meeting new people.  Wong Jai is also a curious dog and has run away twice, once for three days and once just for a few minutes.  He has learned quickly where home is and his friends are.  

     

    Back to top