Issue 80 - 2010/08


Issue 80 - 2010/08-10

Contents

  • Happenings      2 – 3
  • Appetite For Destruction     4 – 6
  • Welfare of our seas     7
  • Cat Colony Care Program    8 - 9
  • Saving Aceng     10 – 11
  • Rabies       12 – 13
  • Legislative Update     14
  • Vet’s Case Book     15
  • Vet Profile      16
  • Vet Facts     16
  • Lawrence “King Cat” Fung    17
  • SPCA Files     18 – 19
  • China      20
  • Education     21
  • Sharks – Inspector Junior    22 – 23
  • Fund Raising     25
  • Happy Endings     26 – 27
  • Membership     28
  • click here to download Issue 80 - 2010/08-10


(text only version)

  • Happenings                                      2 – 3

    SPCA Flag Day exceeds $1,000,000

    The SPCA Flag Day which took place on Saturday June 19 was a great success, raising $1,005,000 for the Society for its work on helping animals and raising public awareness of animal welfare. 2,300 volunteers were on the streets that morning, some of which were family efforts. The flag sheet features 20 different designs, making SPCA flags an instant collector’s item as some people bought entire sheets of flags. We wish to thank all the volunteers, donors and well wishers who have pulled together for this event.

    We are also extremely thankful to Park’N Shop, which had collection boxes in all the Park’N Shop, Park’N Shop International, Taste, Gourmet, Fusion and Great outlets to support the flag day, and for displaying posters to help with the promotion.

     

    SPCA Fires Up 88 Years of Helping Animals

    On June 24, SPCA marked the close of its 88th anniversary with the firing of the noonday gun at Causeway Bay. Our two oldest serving staff, Amy Chan Lai Bing and Fu Yuen Sau did the honours, together with SPCA staff and volunteers cheering for another wonderful 88 years. 

     

    Opening of Albert Wu Clinic

    The SPCA Hong Kong Centre consulting rooms were named Albert Wu Veterinary Clinics in memory of the generous and kind-hearted animal lover. The simple and dignified ceremony was attended by the Wu family, friends and SPCA staff. In addition a generous donation of a state of the art ultrasound machine enabled our veterinary team to upgrade their diagnostic services.

     

    SPCA Ambassador spreads the Forever Home Message

    SPCA welcomes our newest Animal Ambassador, Tse Suet-Sum. An accomplished Chinese opera performer and television star, Tse has been a pet owner since her youth. Together with Ka Wing, her daughter, Tse promises to help SPCA reach out to families and give pets a forever home .

     

    Pet Carnivals for RPO

    SPCA is taking the Responsible Pet Ownership message to communities across Hong Kong! On September 25, the SPCA in conjunction with the Tsuen Wan District Council is hosting a Mid-Autumn Festival carnival at the Sha Tsui Road Sportsground. On October 16, working together with the Wanchai District Council, the Responsible Pet Ownership carnival will be held at Moreton Terrace Temporary Playground. Both events emphasize the importance of good neighbourliness and care for pets.

     

    SPCA hosts The Police Dog Trial 2010

    Get ready for the Police Dog event of the year! The annual Police Dog Trial pitches these highly trained canines together for the chance to be the top dog. Together with the Hong Kong Police Force, SPCA is pleased to put together this event which feature dog obedience competition, man-work (attack) competition, the Police Band and lots of fun for all.

     

    Date: October 31,2010  From 12:30 pm - 5 pm at Shamshuipo sports ground.

    Ticket inquiries: Olive Lau at 2232 5514 (only limited VIP tickets left)

     

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  • Appetite For Destruction      4 – 6

    The Only Way To Save Sharks Is To Stop Eating Them
    By Isabel Jarrett and Stan Shea

    Our oceans are on the brink of collapse. The United Nations recently reported that if fish stocks are not replenished, there will be no fish left in the sea for us to eat as early as 2048. 

    For deep-sea fish, the bell will toll even sooner – in 2025. Indeed, just 25% of fish stocks are considered healthy or reasonably healthy. The numbers of top predators like salmon, sharks, swordfish, cod and tuna have declined by more than 90% in just fifty years.

    Where have all these “lost” fish gone? Well, we’ve eaten them.

    In Hong Kong, for example, seafood consumption has skyrocketed in recent years: from 1997-2005, annual per capita seafood consumption rose from 46kg to 62kg. The Japanese eat approximately 64kg per person per year.

    As we eat more and more seafood, the oceans become more and more depleted of resources, and biodiversity – the variety and abundance of species in a given ecosystem – is lost. When this happens, the delicate harmony of marine ecosystems is thrown out of balance. Ecosystems are then unable to function as efficiently as before, if at all. They stop being able to provide their “free” and “silent” services for us: the cleaning up of the air and water, the regulation of the climate, the absorption of excess CO2 and a bonanza of wild (free!) food.

    As apex predators, sharks are vital to maintaining balance and biodiversity in marine ecosystems but are now facing crisis, mirroring the wider problems afflicting the oceans. Of 468 shark species assessed by the International Union for Conservation for Nature (IUCN), 74 shark species were classed as critically endangered, endangered or threatened. For 210 species, there is simply not enough data available to classify them. Sharks are used for their meat, the oil from their livers in cosmetics, their skin for leather-style goods, such as handbags, and their cartilage as alternative treatments for ailments. More than a third of the sharks caught globally are used for their fins. In traditional Chinese culture, shark fin is one of the eight treasured foods of the sea. Once the dish of emperors, since the explosive growth of the Hong Kong stock market in 1972, shark fin, in particular shark’s fin soup, is now a staple dish at weddings and other banquets throughout the year as it represents exclusivity and indicates the high social status of hosts. 

    But how does shark fin makes its way from the sea to our plates? The enormously wasteful practice of finning sees a shark’s fins cut off its body, which is then thrown back to sea. It may already be dead. If still alive, the shark dies by drowning, bleeding to death or being eaten by other fish. Shark fin is one of the most expensive fishery products – and thus the market one of the most lucrative – in the world; shark meat retails at around US$7 per kilo, shark fins can fetch more than US$1,000 per kilo. So what is the incentive for fishermen? Since fins are worth more, easy to handle, and take up less of the vital storage space of a boat, fishermen carry on finning as we carry on buying shark fins, frozen, dried, in cans, in soup.

    Hong Kong is the epicenter of the global shark fin trade, handling approximately 50% annually: the city imports over 4,000 tons of fins every year from more than 145 countries around the world (Spain, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates are the top five suppliers). As no official studies have been published, the figures for the import of shark fin into Mainland China are not available. Despite the lack of evidence, we can safely assume that as China’s economic boom shows no signs of slowing, its middle class will continue to grow and shark fin soup will become an increasingly sought-after dish.

    Perhaps the key to the problem with sharks is the disparity between sharks’ apparent strength and their inherent vulnerability – of which so few people seem to be aware. Ever feared as ravenous man-eaters since Speilberg’s 1975 film Jaws, sharks are long-lived, slow-growing creatures that reach sexual maturity relatively late and have relatively few pups compared to bony fish. From 2000 – 2009, sharks kill less than five people per year. Humans, on the other hand, kill some 200,000 sharks everyday, or roughly 73 million each year.

    Restrictions on international trade are in place for just three shark species: basking, whale and white sharks.

     

    In the past fifty years, numbers of top predators, such as salmon, tuna, swordfish, cod, and sharks, have declined by up to 90%.

    Banning the practice of shark finning is not the solution. Although in some cases a finning ban might prove effective at improving shark fisheries management, it is extremely unlikely that such a measure would reduce shark fishing effort in the long run, particularly if demand for shark fin and other shark products remains high. Short-term profit always outweighs long-term sustainability when it comes to fishing (the devastation of Mediterranean bluefin tuna for example). Rather, it is the demand that needs to be addressed. Given their very low resilience to fishing, sharks are simply not food.

    The only way to save sharks is to stop eating them. Although a Hong Kong shark fin trader recently told the New York Times that he had noticed that demand had gone down, we need to go further to dramatically reduce consumption. This is the only way to save sharks from extinction. Take the example set by Hawaii: from July 1st 2010, it is illegal in the US state to sell, possess, distribute or trade shark fin. Hefty fines await those who breach the law.

    Consumers can make a difference. When we eat, we vote. In Hong Kong, we must decide (and show) that satisfying our appetites today does not overshadow the urgent need to protect sharks from extinction tomorrow. Let’s act to redress our perceptions of sharks and shark consumption. The health of the oceans, our plates of other types of seafood, and ultimately our lives, depend on it.

     

    Want to know more? Visit www.bloomassociation.org. 

     

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  • Welfare of our seas             7

    Interesting and informative facts about our seas.

    • It has been estimated that by 2048 there will be no fish left in the oceans left for us to eat. For deep-sea fish species, the collapse is expected much sooner: in 2025.
    • Only 25% of fish stocks are considered healthy or reasonably healthy.
    • In the past fifty years, numbers of top predators, such as salmon, tuna, swordfish, cod, and sharks, have declined by up to 90%.
    • Spotlight on Sharks:

    Sharks are apex predators that have been around for more than 350 million years. They’ve been around long enough to see the rise and fall of dinosaurs.

    • As they are long-lived, slow-growing, relatively late to reach sexual maturity and have few young, sharks are particularly vulnerable to over-exploitation.
    • Sharks play a vital role in ecosystems: by asserting top-down control, sharks keep marine ecosystems healthy, balanced and maintain biodiversity.
    • 23-73 million sharks killed per year; 147 a minute or 200,000 per day.  This is unsustainable.
    • More than one third of sharks are wastefully killed only for the fins they provide for soup for Asian markets.  The fins are flavourless and merely absorb the flavour of other ingredients.
    • In 2007, Indonesia is the top shark-fishing nation, followed by India, Taiwan and Spain.
    • Restrictions on international trade are in place for just three shark species: basking, whale and white sharks.
    • Hong Kong shark fin traders are supplied by at least 145 nations.
    • Hong Kong imported between 6,435 to 6,960 tons of shark’s fin from 2000-2003, whilst in 2008, Hong Kong imports dropped to approximately 4,553 tons, valued at HKD $1.55 billion.
    • According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Shark Specialist Group, 11 shark species of 468 species assessed and recognized as critically endangered, 15 are endangered, 48 are classified as vulnerable and 69 are near-threatened.

    Source: bloomassociation.org

     

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  • Cat Colony Care Program  8 – 9

    CCCP 10 Year Anniversary
    A decade of dedicated caring has made a real difference for cat welfare in Hong Kong

    By Dr Fiona Woodhouse
    Welfare Director, SPCA HK

    T.S. Eliot famously wrote about the difficulty of naming cats in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, but when it comes to the counting of cats, no one is more adept than the SPCA HK Cat Colony Care Program (CCCP) team.  On a hot summer’s afternoon, equipped with a wheel on a stick (an odometer) the SPCA team set off on their annual mission to count cats. You might think that a group of people wandering along measuring distance whilst scanning the alleys, rooftops, gardens, bushes, slopes, drainage channels and shop doorways would raise a few questions but no—in true Hong Kong style there was just the odd glance and a raised eyebrow.

    This year the SPCA’s Cat Colony Care Programme is celebrating its 10th anniversary and today the situation for some street cats in Hong Kong is very different from that which faced street cats over 10 years ago before the programme was introduced. 

    In the late 90s when walking around some of Hong Kong’s alleyways and streets you would often be faced with skinny, unhealthy street cats and their offspring—which often succumbed to cat flu. Frequently, passersby concerned about the cats’ suffering would report the sick cats to the SPCA. The veterinary team faced with many of these cases along with the healthy streeat cats coming in to the centres would often have to make the difficult decision to euthanise the sick street cats on humane grounds. This would alleviate the suffering of each individual but it wasn’t addressing the underlying issues affecting the street cat population and the impact of its reproductive potential that was ensuring the cycle of suffering continued. Even if the health status of the cats could be improved the increasing population would face continued hardship on the streets and the SPCA would be unlikely to be able to find homes for the increasing number of offspring produced. This was an ongoing problem to be faced every year—something had to be done.

    During investigation of the problem it became apparent that one of the contributing factors was that the street cat population was being supported by a network of cat feeders. The activity of these feeders ranged from just feeding a couple of neighbourhood cats to feeding several colonies of cats at different locations. On the face of it this might seem a very positive thing but for the street cats this extra nutrition gives the population the energy resources to breed above its natural rate. The stress of such reproduction can have a dramatic effect on the health of the mother cats and health problems such as cat flu can subsequently be passed on to their young.

    The SPCA looked overseas to the USA where the introduction of trap, neuter and return programmes for cats had had a dramatic effect—helping to significantly reduce the number of cats being euthanised in the USA each year. Such programmes work in two ways to help reduce euthanasia rates. Firstly, feral cats that are wild and unhandleable on assessment can be neutered and returned to their place of origin rather than euthanised on the grounds that they cannot be placed in an adoption programme. Secondly, the reduced stresses on the population as a whole seem to decrease the incidence of diseases such as cat flu so animals that may be of suitable temperament for re-homing are less likely to be diseased.

    The SPCA as an animal welfare organisation would prefer that all cats were owned—with an owner having direct responsibility for responsibly caring for each cat—ensuring there was no uncontrolled breeding and that the cats had all their needs met: food, shelter and protection from disease, injury and fear. Obviously, when these welfare issues are considered, the life of a street cat is seen to be less than ideal; food has to be found, as does shelter, the cats are subjected to natural disease exposure on the streets and they can be injured by cars, by falling from heights and by being attacked by dogs.

    However, the SPCA recognised at the outset of the programme that similar to the overseas experience the street cat problem was one that needed a special approach—a population control programme could through its actions have a very great net positive effect on street cat welfare.

    By running the programme the SPCA is not actively encouraging the feeding of street cats but encourages people who are already feeding cats to do so in a more responsible manner: monitoring the cats’ health and welfare in the colony on the street, feeding in a tidy and considerate manner, clearing up after and bringing the cats in for neutering.

    The programme is supported by the government and cats within the colony are protected to a degree as the AFCD will not carry out trapping exercises within colony areas. However, not everyone is a street cat lover and the SPCA team needs to carry out many supportive actions including inspecting each and every colony location prior to its inclusion into the programme. (This inspection takes into account community support, animal welfare and whether the colony is in an area where the programme can legally operate.) Sometimes there are complaints from various parties relating to the cat colony care programme and the SPCA team attempts to mediate on these occasions explaining the underlying principles on which the programme is based.

    In addition there has to be strong education on the responsibilities of pet owners to reduce animal abandonment (a domestic house cat is in no way equipped for the hardships on the street) and to prevent unwanted litters being born, which in the past have often been dumped on the streets to fend for themselves.

    So where are we now with the programme? In 2009 to 2010 we handled over 5,600 cats—a 15-fold increase from the start of the programme in 2000. Gradually, word has spread and more people are recognising they need to help improve the welfare of the street cats in their neighbourhood. Encouragingly, rather than the benefits of the programme just being recognised by individuals, the programme is being taken up by institutions, housing and club management offices and some government departments to help them address problems they face in relation to resident street cat populations.

    We now have more than 470 registered carers who are looking after more than 1200 feline colonies.

    During this past year just over 96% of cats were returned to their colonies (5,423 individuals), 3% were re-homed by the SPCA and less than 0.3% had to be euthanised on humane grounds.

    The annual population trend survey carried out on one colony since 2002 in order to track the effectiveness of the programme in terms of population of control in the field shows that since 2002 the number of street cats counted has decreased by over 80%.

    In addition, analysis of data shows that the SPCA cat euthanasia rate has decreased by almost 50% since the programme was introduced. This reduction is not solely attributable to the programme as the SPCA’s welfare initiatives are designed to be complementary but it has played a significant role. Anecdotally, it has been noted by the SPCA and other cat rescue groups that each year the number of kittens being born out of the “kitten season” is decreasing and this “off season” period seems to extending.

    Of course there are aspects of this programme that are very difficult to quantify and those are the social aspects that relate to the human factors. For example, how much happier are the people of Hong Kong that such a tolerant street cat population control programme is applied rather than one that is not? At this stage the SPCA cannot answer that definitively but from the general support the public seems to give it would appear to be the preferred humane option!

     

    1212   Cat Colonies*

    472     Registered Carers

    * Please refer to the pdf version.

     

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  • Saving Aceng           10 – 11

    According to legend, a Javan leopard one day fell into a well in a small village in western Java.  The people of the village rescued the leopard and from that day forward the people and the leopards lived with a solemn pact to do no harm to one another. 

    Enormous efforts were invested in ensuring that “Aceng” would be released back to the forest, despite mounting requests from local zoos and officials to add him to their collections.

     

    By Dr. Karthi Krishnasamy

    Javan leopards are listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List; the wild population has dropped to between 100 and 250 mature individuals. Java represents only 7% of Indonesia’s land mass yet holds 60% of the total population or about 130 million people. Overpopulation, urbanisation, deforestation and habitat fragmentation pose serious threats to the Javan Leopard. There are sadly too few safe areas such as natural reserves and parks for the leopard to survive.

    Villagers living around the reserves and parks frequently poach from the forest to catch deer and other small mammals. In August 2008 a poacher’s wire snare trapped a Javanese leopard. The leopard, attempting to free himself from the wire, only succeeded in digging and twisting the snare deeper into his waist and hip area. The villagers had no intention of catching a leopard, an animal they consider sacred but they were unable to set the badly injured leopard free as it was too dangerous to approach.

    The wildlife authorities were informed and recruited the help of various NGOs, including International Animal Rescue (IAR), Indonesia. A rescue team was quickly set up and “Aceng” (as the leopard was later named) was anaesthetised, placed in a secure cage and carried out of the forest. “Aceng” was taken to the Animal Sanctuary Trust Indonesia (ASTI) in Bogor, an NGO dedicated to caring for Indonesia’s wildlife. Dr Karthi from the SPCA (Hong Kong) was in Indonesia to lend assistance to the IAR with other projects at the time and was able to help with the veterinary intervention.

    There were no veterinary facilities in ASTI and it was risky to take “Aceng” out of the cage so it was decided to set up a working station within the leopard’s cage. Aceng was given an anaesthetic using a blow pipe and dart. He was found to be very weak, dehydrated and in poor body condition. The wire snare had dug deep into the flesh around his waist and exposing the tip of his hip bone. The wound was filled with maggots. He was placed on a drip using his tail vein to quickly deliver emergency supportive care. His wound was cleaned thoroughly but we were unable to suture it closed, as it was too old, too deep and too dirty. Drugs to prevent further maggot infestation were given as well as antibiotics and painkillers.

    “Aceng” recovered well from the anaesthesia and started eating the next day. He was fed whole chicken carcasses and all his medications were dispensed in the food. He was anaesthetised periodically to monitor the progress of his wound which to everyone’s delight was healing beautifully. “Aceng” had minimum contact with people during his treatment to ensure he remained wild and not habituated to the presence of humans.

    Enormous efforts were invested in ensuring that “Aceng” would be released back to the forest, despite mounting requests from local zoos and officials to add him to their collections. The government eventually accepted the position of the NGOs and of the villagers of Mount Karang where “Aceng” originated:  10 months after his rescue “Aceng” was anaesthetised one last time and porters carried him up the slippery slopes back to the forest for his release.

    “Aceng” woke up from his anaesthesia and was set free to, once again, roam his native forest.

     

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  • Rabies           12 – 13  

    As we head into the fourth annual World Rabies Day, on September 28th, 2010, one might well ask: Why is rabies still a big problem? After all, rabies is a preventable disease: humans can be safely and successfully treated after they have been exposed. Rabies is an animal disease with humans only being incidental hosts, so why should the world focus any attention on rabies at all?

    In fact, the problems with rabies prevention are great.  Rabies has the highest fatality rate of any infectious disease known to mankind – almost 100% - and yet it is completely preventable through vaccination. There is no cure for rabies once clinical signs present and an infected animal or human faces an almost certain death.

    Lack of money and the political means that the poorest and most vulnerable are more likely to die if infected than get treated. Many communities in Asia and Africa continue to live under constant threat.

    At least 55,000 people and many countless animals die from this horrific disease every year. The great tragedy is that, with what we do know about rabies prevention, none of the humans or animals need have died; they all could have been saved if they could have received a simple rabies vaccine.

    Rabies is also one of the main causes of cruelty to animals around the world.  In areas where canine rabies is endemic, mass slaughter of dogs is often seen as a way to control to disease and fear of infection leads to maltreatment and abandonment of animals.

    One of the most important first steps to preventing rabies and mass killing of dogs, is to improve educational awareness across all levels of society. This is where World Rabies Day plays such a critical role.

    The global response to World Rabies Day has been phenomenal and the day continues to provide a unique platform for individuals, countries and international organizations to highlight educational awareness in their own regions. During the past three years, World Rabies Day activities have sent educational messages to more than 100 million people living in more than 135 countries (www.worldrabiesday.org). 

     

    Children are often unaware of the danger that dogs transmit rabies and may not tell their parents when a bite, lick, or scratch has occurred from an infected animal.

    World Rabies Day has enabled the Global Alliance for Rabies Control to establish a network of individuals and organizations working to control rabies in almost every country across the world. It has provided courage to governments to take a stand against rabies and to launch or re-launch national rabies programs in countries that had given up any hope of making a difference.

    For example, in 2007 and 2008 the Government of Brazil donated 600,000 doses of rabies vaccine to Haiti to restart their canine rabies vaccination program; one professor in India educated 100,000 children about how to prevent rabies; and in a partnership with the government of the province of Bohol in the Philippines, the Global Alliance for Rabies Control has helped to educate more than 17,000 children every year about responsible pet ownership and how to prevent rabies. 

    The best solution to prevent rabies is for organizations and ministries including those focused on animal and human health, education, animal welfare, communications and finance to come together and find common solutions. World Rabies Day provides the perfect opportunity for all of these agencies to come together to truly work on a ‘One Health’ approach to prevent and control rabies and ultimately to save precious lives of both animals and humans across the globe. Join us on September 28th, 2010!

    The SPCA (HK) urges Hong Kong residents to be vigilant and help prevent rabies outbreak in Hong Kong by the following actions:

    • Do not smuggle animals
    • Support increased regulation and monitoring of the pet trade
    • Vaccinate your dog against rabies and have it under proper control at all times
    • Support animal birth control programmes – get your dog de-sexed
    • Do not abandon your dog on the streets.

     

    By Peter J. Costa, MPH CHES
    Director, Global Communications
    World Rabies Day Campaign

     

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  • Legislative Update   14

    New Report Calls for Hong Kong’s Animal Protection Laws to be Updated

    In early July, Associate Professor of Law at HKU, Amanda Whitfort and Deputy Director of Welfare, SPCA (HK), Dr. Fiona Woodhouse, released a comparative review of Hong Kong’s animal related legislation. The work was funded by the Research Grants Council and the Central Policy Unit of the Hong Kong government. The review (focusing on animal welfare) found Hong Kong’s anti-cruelty legislation lacks the necessary power to assist animals in danger of suffering and abuse. The law, as it now stands, was enacted in 1935 and can only be enforced against an owner where an animal has already been the victim of an overt act of cruelty. Currently, nothing can be done to protect animals in serious danger of suffering until they are seriously harmed. Authorities must stand by and wait for a neglected animal to have been cruelly harmed by its owner before the law allows them to do anything at all to help the animal.

    The review also found that licensing conditions for pet shops are seriously out of date. Animal traders need not demonstrate any suitability for caring for animals or provide animal welfare training to their staff. There is no requirement for pet shops to have vet care agreements in place to ensure animals have ready access to veterinary care. No legislated enclosure size requirements are imposed on pet shops which do not engage in breeding and there is no requirement to give exercise to dogs kept for sale. The continued lack of legislation controlling hobby breeders also allows animals of dubious origin and health to be widely sold.

    The review noted serious failures at local slaughterhouses to meet basic animal welfare standards. Slaughterhouse workers routinely hit animals with electric goads on power cords, sticks and pipes, and tie up the legs of pigs, with injuries, to force them to hobble up ramps to slaughter pens. Animals can be overcrowded, suffer from heat exhaustion and are not provided with constant access to water. The voltage used to stun pigs is also lower than that used in other common law jurisdictions, potentially allowing for animals to still be conscious of pain when stuck and hoisted. The welfare of most animals kept on local farms and sold at wet markets is also inadequately protected. The review rejects any legal impediments to a government approved trap neuter return programme for unowned, roaming dogs in Hong Kong and recommends this methodology be included as part of the humane way to deal with the local situation.

    “This comparative review is not intended to be a prescriptive, fully- comprehensive proposal for replacing the current legislation. It aims to show the need for a legislative review - high lighting some areas of concern and the different approaches that can be taken”, said Dr. Woodhouse.  “Often we are asked: What happens next? I would like to see the Administration give their full support to the stakeholders and commit to a fully comprehensive review – allocating dedicated resources - working together with stakeholders, aiming to get the best possible outcome for improved animal welfare. Of course this will take time but it should be expedited within a set time frame and there must be a guarantee to take the proposal to Leg Co as soon as possible for ratification”.

     

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  • Vet’s Case Book      15

    Transposition Skin Flap Technique:
    Reconstruction of a Cat Bite Abscess wound

    “JoJo” came to our clinic as a friendly stray suitable for adoption by a loving family. The only problem was that poor “JoJo” had a horrendous infection on her left flank, most likely the end-result of a cat bite.

    Cat canine teeth are very slender and inject bacteria normally present in the mouth deep under the skin. Just like with a hypodermic needle there is no entry/ exit wound for infection to drain. With pus forming in large volumes and no path for drainage, the overlying skin rapidly dies and sloughs, commonly leaving a large infected hole in the skin.

    Any large skin deficit in animals can be a challenge to deal with surgically. When suturing a wound it is important that there is no tension on the stitches, or the wound will break down despite one’s best efforts. When faced with large, circular deficit it is necessary to employ more advanced methods of repair such as skin flaps or grafts.

    Skin flaps and grafts are skin harvested from areas of the body with a surplus of skin which are moved over the wound area. This negates any tension on sutures by completely covering the hole without the need to stretch the edges together.

    Skin grafts are cut away completely from the donor site and moved to the wound site. Whilst these can be very successful with correct care and management, there is a failure rate. All blood supply to the graft has been cut during harvesting, leading to a poorer supply to the surgical site. This can lead to death of the graft and an unsuccessful outcome.

    Skin flaps retain their attachment, and blood supply, and are swung, or transposed, over the wound. With an intact blood supply, they are a more reliable method of treatment but are limited to areas they can reach. Grafts can be placed anywhere on the body and are normally used in situations where a flap is impractical to reach, such as the paw.

    “JoJo” was fortunate; flank wounds are easily covered by a flap from the underbelly. A large artery emerges from the groin and runs forward below the nipples to supply the mammary tissue. A flap can be obtained from this area of loose skin and fat and, with artery and vein still present and swung up to cover the exposed wound. This is normally undertaken once the initial infection has been treated and any remaining dead skin and tissue has been surgically removed.

    Surgery went smoothly and the graft took very well with no breakdown. Two weeks after surgery the skin stitches were removed and the hair was starting to grow back well as can be seen in the photos.  The only side effect of this procedure is nipples in unusual places!!!!!

     

    Dr Tony Matthews

     

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  • Vet Profile      16

    Dr. Alistair
    Title: Veterinary Surgeon
    Nationality: Kiwi (New Zealander)

     

    Academic qualifications:

    Bachelor of Science majoring in Ecology, Zoology and Microbiology, Massey University.
    Bachelor of Veterinary Science, Massey University, New Zealand.

     

    After completing my first degree in rugby and socialising (with a little science on the side) I bought a one way ticket away from Aotearoa (The Land of the Long White Cloud, New Zealand). I then spent three years travelling around the world working in various jobs along the way from building paths in National Parks to assisting photographers in the game parks of Africa. This experience as well as countless childhood hours watching David Attenborough made my mind up to follow my one true dream; to become a veterinary surgeon.

    Upon my return to New Zealand I set about this goal in earnest turning a previous solid C average grade into the A’s required to get into veterinary college. I am a firm believer in the Sir Peter Blake philosophy that the opposite of success isn’t failure, its giving up. Five years and a lot of hard work latter, including tour managing in my free time to pay my way through university, I had my shiny new degree and a wish to continue travelling. Hong Kong has always excited me with its vibrant life and hectic pace which made it the natural choice to find my first job as a vet. The SPCA’s blend of clinical and welfare work along with its large and friendly veterinary team and depth of knowledge provides an excellent opportunity for me to develop my skills.

     

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  • Vet Facts        16

    Skin Allergies

    More commonly than their human counterparts, cats and dogs react to allergic stimuli with skin problems. Typical signs are itching, chewing and chronic ear infections all of which are distressing to both pet and owner!

    Here are some basic facts about these itchy pets…

    There are three main types of allergies:

    -       Atopy (allergens are inhaled and/or absorbed through skin)

    -       Food Allergy

    -       Flea Allergy

    Unfortunately there is no easy cure for these conditions, and diagnosis involves a logical, systematic, and often slow, series of steps to rule potential allergens out.

    In addition, treating other causes of skin disease, such as mites, fungus, bacterial infections and hormonal or behavioural disorders is vital before working up an allergy case.

    Patience is the key — there is no easy answer! A common approach involves:

    Placing all cats and dogs in the household on regular, effective flea control all year round. Low level flea populations may be undetected by the owner, but causing an allergy in one or more animals in a household.

    Placing the animal on a hypoallergenic food trial for at least two months. Common food allergens are often proteins found in beef, lamb, pork, chicken, milk, eggs, fish and soy, but allergens can also be cereals such as wheat and preservatives in commercial dog foods. During a trial it is vital that no other food is fed (including supplements unless prescribed by the vet!) 

    If there is no response to flea control and a strict food trial, Atopy is usually suspected. Common atopic allergens include pollens, dust mites and mould spores. This condition is very difficult to cure but with good owner compliance it can be controlled. Some dogs may require skin allergy testing to get a diagnosis. Treatments include anti-histamines, immuno-therapy injections and in more severe cases immuno-suppressants.  

     

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  • Lawrence “King Cat” Fung   17

    Lawrence Fung, is known as King Cat among his colleagues and friends at the SPCA, where he has served with the Inspectorate for nearly twenty years, making him the longest-serving member of the SPCA Inspectorate.  

    In Hong Kong his nickname is associated with Elvis Presley, but rather than music Lawrence earned his fame when colleagues discovered that he possesses an unusual natural affinity with cats. The four-footed furry friends just seem to like being with Lawrence. 

    While many consider street cats a nuisance, Lawrence wants people to know that the cats are often there due to abandonment and that we need to be patient and understanding about their situation.   We have a responsibility to care for these cats because our lives are intertwined with theirs, Lawrence believes.  Many of the difficulties street cats face are those that we humans have helped create: from encroaching urbanisation to callous abandonment. 

    At this point in his career, Lawrence has forgotten how many animals he has rescued. He is proud of being a member of Hong Kong SPCA’s unique team and said that he has a very good sense of job satisfaction. Today, rescue work presents no difficulties to him, but he does have problems from time to time explaining the concept of euthanasia to some animal lovers to convince them to adopt a balanced view between just saving a life and putting an animal down in order to stop unnecessary suffering.  He is also careful to point out the difference between killing and euthanasia.

    One unforgettable event for Lawrence was the dedicated teamwork displayed during a complicated rescue case in which he, despite having just finished working a 12 hour night shift, volunteered and joined another two Inspectors spending a few hours searching and abseiling almost 100 meters down a very steep slope in Kwun Tong to rescue an injured dog.

    A father of two children, Lawrence enjoys spending his spare time with his family engaging in all sorts of activities including sharing his animal handling stories with his wife and children.

     

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  • SPCA Files   18 – 19

    From March 2010 to May 2010 the Inspectorate received a total of 11,211 calls and handled 1,820 animals. SPCA Inspectors rescued 458 animals, investigated 275 complaints, and consulted inspections of 127 pets shops and 282 wet markets. 

     

    March (Prosecuted)

    A person was prosecuted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance for leaving a dog in an unattended village house in Sheung Shui, which resulted in the death of the dog.

     

    April (Prosecuted)

    Another person was prosecuted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance for keeping about 40 dogs and 30 cats in poor condition without proper care in a village house in Ma On Shan.

     

    March (Rescued)

    Found on a beam behind a stone wall in a residential building in Tsuen Wan, this cat was rescued by SPCA inspectors and taken to SPCA hospital for custody and care.  The cat now beams with joy.

     

    March (Rescued)

    A dog tapped between the walls of two village house in Tai Po was freed by SPCA inspectors and returned to its owner. 

     

    March (Rescued)

    Found on the ground of the garden of a village house in Clearwater Bay, this kite was rescued by SPCA inspector and taken to Kadoorie Farm for treatment.

     

    March (Rescued)

    A cat had its head stuck through the hole of a cubical rubbish bin at the refuse collection point at a school in Mongkok.  It was rescued by SPCA inspector and taken to SPCA hospital for veterinary treatment.

     

    April (Rescued)

    A dog slid down a slope in Sai Kung into a narrow gap between a house and the slope; the dog was subsequently rescued by SPCA inspectors. This rescue was made possible by the help of firefighters, who responded to the call, as well. The dog was sent to SPCA hospital for veterinary treatment.

     

    April (Rescued)

    A cat trapped inside a sewage well at the roof of a village house in Kam Tin was rescued by SPCA inspectors and was returned to its owner.

     

    April (Rescued)

    This cattle egret, found in an industrial area in Tuen Mun, was rescued by SPCA inspectors and taken to Kadoorie Farm for rehabilitation.

     

    May (Rescued)

    A Barking Deer trapped in a fence in Tuen Mun was rescued by SPCA inspectors. This rescue was made possible with the help of the firefighters responding. It was taken to Kadoorie Farm for treatment.

     

    May (Rescued)

    A collared scops owl trapped in string hanging on the branches of a tree in Ma On Shan was rescued by SPCA inspectors and taken to Kadoorie Farm for treatment.

     

    May (Rescued)

    Three kittens trapped in the engine of a vehicle parked in Tsuen Wan were rescued by SPCA inspector and taken to SPCA hospital for custody and care.

     

    May (Rescued)

    A cat caught by an iron chain on the branches of tree several storeys above the ground in Mui Wo was rescued by SPCA inspectors and was returned to its owner.

     

    May (Rescued)

    A cat trapped inside a hole outside the third floor of a three storey car park of a public housing estate in Tuen Mun was rescued by SPCA inspectors and taken to SPCA hospital for custody and care.

     

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  • China                     20 

    SPCA’s Animal Welfare Education Team Helps Conduct Four-day Teacher Camp

    The “2010 ALLOW LOVE TO STRETCH FOR 1 METRE” campaign of the Xiamen Youth Summer Camp in July sustained the efforts of the Xiamen Education Bureau, Xiamen Animal Protection Association (XMAPA) and the SPCA China Outreach in promoting animal welfare in China.

    SPCA is committed to its belief that education and legislative changes are imperative to minimise and prevent animal cruelty in China.  It is China Outreach’s second time sponsoring the summer camp activities with other NGOs like AnimalsAsia and IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare). 

    In addition to the students’ camp, the scale of the 2010 summer camp was expanded to include also a four-day teachers’ camp.  180 students and more than 40 teachers attended to promote the concept of animal welfare and learn from one another.

    The SPCA China Outreach Department presented the concept of Animal Welfare, which is part of the Animal Protection Humane Education package materials developed and test run since April among 5,000 students of 14 schools in Xiamen.  The presentations enticed students to take a stronger interest in animal welfare; the concept will become part of their official curriculum at their schools starting in September.  The SPCA China Outreach Department plans to extend the coverage of the package materials to another 5,000 students. 

    Vivian Chiu, the head of the SPCA (HK) Education Department, led the Train-the-Trainers Workshop for the 42 teachers who participated in the trial run of the Animal Protection Humane Education textbooks.  The teachers’ feedback was passionate, indicating a high level of interest in the subject of animal welfare. 

     

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  • Education       21

    A New Generation of Animal Ambassadors

    Young people are often criticised for being too self-centered and lacking a compassionate view towards the world around them. While the constant influence of movies, celebrities and a materialistic environment takes its toll on students, the light inside can be sparked and we here at the SPCA see it happen every day. 

    Reaching into the community and sharing a basic animal welfare message with children is our contribution to the next generation. We treasure each opportunity we are afforded to inspire young minds to consider kindness towards animals, responsible pet ownership and the link between themselves and other life forms.

    When a visit to our homing department or a school talk motivates a youngster to send us a note to tell us that they have a new attitude towards animals, we feel honored and humbled. Some children have taken the time to express their appreciation with uniquely designed thank-you cards and we display them with pride. In addition, teachers have shared that it is not only the students that learn and grow from their exposure to the SPCA’s educational outreach programs.

    Recent interest from some international schools in creative fund raising activities is a welcome development and one we hope to cultivate in years to come. The money they raise is certainly appreciated, but it is the awareness and empathy towards animals that gives us most cause to celebrate.

    The SPCA (HK) extends special thanks to Claudia Chu, Max Feng, Nathalie Mintjens and Beverly Yuen, the Dog Abuse Preventers from Renaissance College, Hong Kong. The four Year Six students initiated a baking sale at school and raised HKD574 to buying necessities for our kennelled animals which await adoption. The students presented their donation to Vivian Chiu, SPCA Education Manager, on 13 May at the SPCA Headquarters before visiting the animals at the Centre.

    The Green Team from Beacon Hill School visited the SPCA on 19 May to find out how animals are rescued, looked after and homed. The children thoroughly enjoyed themselves and learned a lot. The team then made a presentation to the rest of the school at an assembly about what they had learned at the SPCA and how the school could help. The school recently held an environmental awareness week. Some of the week’s activities raised money and the children of Beacon Hill decided to donate the $2000 collected to the SPCA. The money was raised by staff and students making donations to dress ‘green’ for one day and not wear school uniform, and from a disco held at the school. The SPCA is grateful for the school’s generosity.

    That the SPCA can play a small role in shaping the minds of the youth of tomorrow is not something we take lightly. Each day we strive to ensure that our lectures and presentations are current, informative and fun. We look to our little animal ambassadors to spread the message that compassion and kindness are not just desirable attributes, but the building blocks to superior character. With such a generation of kind-hearted leaders, our future looks very bright indeed!

     

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  • Sharks – Inspector Junior     22 – 23

    Why do sharks have such a terrible reputation? People often see them as vicious, man-eating monsters of the sea, but nothing could be further from the truth!

    Sharks have lived in the earth’s oceans for more than 400 million years—that’s long before the dinosaurs arrived! They have evolved to become supreme hunters with few natural predators - a great survival strategy, until mankind started hunting them. 

    There are more than 400 species of sharks, ranging from the enormous whale shark and bizarre hammerheads, to the spined pygmy shark, which would fit into the palm of your hand.

    Sharks are fish, but unlike the usual bony fish, a shark’s skeleton is made of cartilage —the same material that our noses and ears are made of! The clever thing is that cartilage is more flexible than bone, which helps even massive sharks twist and move like lightning. Plus, it’s lighter than bone, which helps this creature stay afloat.

    Short-fin mako sharks are the fastest shark in the sea, moving at speeds of up to 69kmph!

    The most feared shark in the world is the great white, which can grow to more than 6m long!

    The whale shark is not only the biggest shark (up to 14.6m long), but the largest living fish species!

    The lemon shark seen on the right has the worst vision of all sharks, but is equipped  with sensitive magnetic receiptors in its nose!

    Sharks can see about 10 times better than humans.  Hammerhead sharks can see in all directions!

     

    Super Senses

    If they stop swimming, sharks slowly sink as their body tissues are heavier than water. For some sharks (e.g. white reef sharks and wobbegongs, which love to rest on the seabed or in underwater caves) this is fine, but most sharks have to keep swimming - even when sleeping!

    Sharks have seven senses to help them find food! They have the same five senses as humans (sight, smell, sound, taste and touch), plus an electrical sense (detection of electrical currents in the water) and one called a lateral line, which consists of pressure-sensitive cells beneath their skin.

    Though scary to behold, the basking shark (left) only eats plankton (microscopic matter).

     

    Factoids courtesy of RSPCA’s Animal Action

     

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  • Fund Raising 25

    Mooncake Charity Sales 2010

    Celebrate the Midautumn Festival with specially designed mooncake packages from Kee Wah Bakery X SPCA! In addition to our popular single tin can mooncakes, we are bringing out a low-sugar version, and two gift packs featuring a classical Chinese almanac style motif and a whimsical family cartoon design, created by students of the C O 1 School of Visual Arts.

    Mooncake orders are taken at our fundraising department (tel 2232 5540) or are available at SPCA centres and charity sales outlets.

     

    Raffle 2010

    Help animals and win a holiday to Tokyo! Our top prize this year is a 2-night stay at the Tokyo Shangri-La Hotel and 2 round-trip Cathay Pacific airways business class tickets. There are a total of 90 prizes to be won and 8 coupons giving you discounts of up to $130 for restaurants and services. Please order your tickets by calling 2232 5543.

     

    Charity Sales new products

    Help us help animals! SPCA charity sales bring you some of our fanciest animal lover items! Get ready for school with our new range of animal notebooks and folders! We are also launching a new line of teeshirts, totebags, sport and beach towel and accessories. 

     

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  • Happy Endings        26 – 27

    Tiger and Bobo guard a sandal.

    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.

     

    Ms. Tsang Wing Kiu and Bobo

    Bobo caught the eye of Ms. Tsang Wing Kiu at the SPCA’s shelter.   As Bobo was the second SPCA adoption for Ms. Tsang, the process was quite simple and the reward: another loved family member to accompany Tiger in playful antics, such as knocking colorful balls of yarn to and fro across the floor, creating moving rainbows.   

    Ms. Tsang is also quick to point out that as much fun as pet ownership can be, it is important to adopt a pet with the knowledge that it is a full time responsibility and that people should be prepared to care for their little loved ones for life.

     

    Ms. Polly Wong and Daisy Hiba

    Ms Polly Wong first saw her future adopted dog Daisy Hiba in a newspaper article and then in an e-mail newsletter fromt he SPCA. Ms. Wong had already adopted a dog through the SPCA named Bailey and became interested in adopting another dog as Daisy’s companion.   Daisy Hiba was rescued from Tsing Hong Road near Cheung Tsing Estate, Tsing Yi. 

    Hiba in Arabic means “gift from god” and that’s exactly how Ms. Wong and family view Daisy—a gift of joy to their family. Daisy was rescued from a horrible situation in which she suffered from profound neglect. Part of the legacy of that abandonment was illness—in this case, pig fever. Such an illness would make it more likely for Daisy to have health complications later in life and sure enough, that is what happened after the adoption. The pig fever returned and Daisy was despondent and not eating properly. Daisy returned to hospital for treatment and she immediately became upset and unhappy, as she associated the return as another abandonment, according to a dog whisperer hired by Ms. Wong. Fortunately for Daisy, she had found her forever home. Vets advised Ms. Wong to take Daisy home and care for her, which is exactly what she did and through loving care, Daisy was nurtured, began eating better, and eventually recovered her full health. Even Daisy past fears of humans are dissolving away.

    Ms. Wong credits a strict routine of exercise and daily habits in part for Hiba’s recovery. Hiba has adapted so well she even knows to bring her toys to bed with her instead of having a family member bring them to her. 

    Ms. Wong also feels strongly that all dogs are equal: pedigree or not.  In particular, she feels a special fondness for the dogs in the care of the SPCA, who have been mistreated,or abandoned. 

    “We’d like future pet owners to realize that having pets is a life-time commitment,” said Ms. Wong. “Pets are not toys—not something that can be discarded or thrown away when the owners are bored with them or find them not convenient to have. Pets are living beings with characters and emotions.  Daisy is a perfect example where a loving and stable home saved her from her near death illness and has been helping her to heal from the trauma of abandonment.”

     

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  • Membership 28

    Pet Owners’ Gathering

    Free:               Member $80 Non Member $130

    Venue:           3/F 5, Wan Shing Street Wanchai

    Date:               Saturday 23 October 2010

    Time:              2 to 4pm (no pets)

    Refreshments: Tea/ coffee & cookies

    Gifts:               Free gift pack, samples, shampoo and toy to every enrolment

    Reservation:  2802 0501

    Language:      Cantonese

    Discussion Topic:

    The gathering will focus on everyday pet issues such as Fur care, Hygiene,

    Vaccination, Training, Exercise and much more. Please mark your diary for this informative and fun session!

     

    September 2010 Retail Shop Promotion - Maxipo Products

    Venue: Sai Kung Center 

    Time:  10am to 12 Noon

    Date:    Saturday 4, 11, 18 & 25 September 2010

    Special Promotion: Applaws and Kakato wet food - buy 5 get 1 free

    Special offer: free samples

     

    October 2010 Retail Shop Promotion - Wellness Natural Food for Cats & Dogs

    Venue: Sai Kung Center  – No.7, Sha Tsui Path, Sai Kung

    Time:  10am to 12 Noon

    Date:   Saturday 2, 9, 23 & 30 October 2010

    Special offer: free samples, give away discount coupons and on-day Lucky draw

      

    Member’s benefits – 10% discount

    Feliway from the UK helps calm your cat or dog. Other discounted items include nail clipper set, dental bar for dogs, dental croquettes for cats, Alva Vera cleansing cotton issue for pets, odor eliminator spray, candles, pet friendly insect spray, de-knot comb for pets, summer beds, cat toys. Come to our retail store for more items!

      

    Moon Cake for dogs 

    on sale to  22-September 2010, organic and healthy festival food, Ideal gift for pets

     

    Family Finder GPS tracker

    Pet owners will be able to keep track of, and have lots of fun with the Family Finder GPS Tracker.

     

    Exclusive features:

    1. Auto voice pickup function so that pet owner can hear and talk to the pet         
    2. Built in camera (remote control by pet owner) which takes pictures from the pet’s perspective
    3. Location SMS (When a pet leaves a designated area, it will trigger a SMS)
    4. Downloadable MMS map of your pet’s location GPS Positioning

     

    Kool Dogz Ice Treat Maker with recipe – entertains, hydrates, cools, treats and freeze your dog’s favorite toys & treats

     

    Flipper

    Flipper is a tooth brush holder that can protect the toothbrush from airborne germs and bacteria. Its one touch mechanism flips open/close automatically when the toothbrush is tugged or pushed.

    SPCA offers the following services and advices for our members. Please contact our Customer Services Manager Wendy Full Lanusse at 2232 5509 for further information:

    - Animal Boarding                            

    - Pet Relocation                  

    - Pet Cremation

    - Animal Desexing Inquiries            

    - Pet Loss Counselling       

    - Subsidy for Desexing and Surgery

    We have also arranged special discounts for pet friendly vacuum cleaners and wines. Please visit our retail outlets for more information.

     

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