Animal Watch Scheme

Animal Watch Scheme

As a way to combat animal cruelty more effectively, the Hong Kong Police set up the Animal Watch Scheme to formalise the working relationship between the Police, SPCA and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD).

Since its formation, the Society for Abandoned Animals (SAA), the Hong Kong Veterinary Association (HKVA) and the China (Hong Kong) Veterinary Association (CHKVA) have also been invited to join the Scheme which is designed to increase cooperation, liaison, exchange of information and intelligence, training and experience sharing among all parties.

The collaboration means that whichever organisation receives a report of animal cruelty, the combined technical expertise, experience and resources can be brought to bear in a systematic way.

Animal Watch Scheme in Action

Reports of cruelty to animals will be investigated by district police teams who are best placed to make enquiries and conduct investigations because of their knowledge of the techniques required.

The principal role of the police is to provide expertise in crime investigation including processing the crime scene. They also:

  • Make arrests;
  • Seize exhibits;
  • Question suspects; and
  • Compile evidence for the Department of Justice prosecution team.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) is the primary government department responsible for animal matters. It has the power to conduct independent investigations, make arrests and instigate prosecutions. In cases of animal cruelty, the AFCD’s principal roles are to:

  • Provide an animal veterinary pathology service including a post-mortem;
  • Provide animal holding facilities for seized animals from large-scale raids; and
  • Enforce animal related law especially in animal trading or animal holding facilities where animal cruelty or neglect has been reported.

Sadly, we have decades of experience in investigating animal cruelty and our role starts with running a 24-hour hotline. Our inspectors carry out preliminary investigations based on every report and, if necessary, will work with the police and AFCD to pursue cases. Our team also work with the police and AFCD at a potential crime scene, offering our particular expertise.

Investigating animal cruelty can be a long process from the initial incident through to a verdict. The SPCA treats and looks after the animals involved until the court releases them, often many months or years later – a cost borne by donations.

Our role in animal cruelty cases is to:

  • Assist in evidence collection and documentation;
  • Provide expert testimony;
  • Provide medical care and hospitalisation for seized animals that require treatment; and
  • Care for seized animals until a judgement has been made.
"Spring Roll" on the roof top.
"Spring Roll" at SPCA, ready for a new life!

In May 2012, a video from a local newspaper revealed that a man in Yuen Long had been beating his dog, later named “Spring Roll.” The sender of the video claimed the beatings had being going on for over a year although the video itself was not clear enough to determine if the man was actually beating the dog or if he was hitting the ground.

Under the Animal Watch Scheme, the police and the SPCA collaborated to determine if Spring Roll was a victim of cruelty. Together, they located a witness who confirmed that the man had been beating his dog for more than a year. He also provided the full version of the original video that had been featured in the newspaper.

The team were also able to provide as evidence a cane with which the dog had been beaten along with expert testimony from our dog behaviour and temperament expert, Dr Cynthia Simillie.

The result was that in August 2012, the owner was convicted of animal cruelty and fined HK$2,500. Spring Roll was removed from his care and rehomed two months later.

Police and SPCA investigate the case.

In March 2012, a witness saw a man stop his white van on the roadside in Yuen Long and throw out two objects before driving off. The objects were later found to be two halves of a cat. The witness reported the incident and the registration number of the van to the police.

Under the Animal Watch scheme, the SPCA Inspectorate was called in for assistance and determined that there was a need for further enquiries.

The police located the driver who revealed he had heard some strange noises coming from the engine compartment. He stopped the van, checked the compartment and found the cat dead inside. When he pulled out the carcass, it had been torn into two.

SPCA Inspectors and the police found some bloodstains and cat fur left inside the engine compartment while the AFCD post-mortem examination found nothing to suggest a cause of death different to the van driver’s story.

The result was that the case was classified as an accident.


Investigating Cruelty

Our Inspectorate team is dedicated to protecting the welfare of animals and is best known for its work with Hong Kong law enforcement agencies to protect them against cruelty.

Animal Watch Scheme

As a way to combat animal cruelty more effectively, the Hong Kong Police set up the Animal Watch Scheme to formalise the working relationship between the Police, SPCA and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD).

What is animal welfare?

In Hong Kong, the key animal welfare law is Cap.169 – the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance – and the regulations provided under Cap.169A. These define cruelty as the action or inaction of a person (or persons) that causes ...

Your role in combatting cruelty

The SPCA operates a 24-hour confidential hotline for members of the public to report animal cruelty and this plays a major part in helping us protect animals in Hong Kong. If you suspect animal cruelty is being committed, here are some signs ...

Preventing Dog Poisonings

For three decades, the Bowen Road and Black's Link areas have become synonymous with a suspected dog poisoner. In the early 1990s, dogs were found poisoned almost every month having ingested bait left in the grass verges and more ...

Inspectors in the Community

Our Inspectorate team believes that education can play a major part in reducing animal cruelty so they spend time in the community on a number of programs ...

Inspectorate organisation

Our 22 fulltime employees are organised into three core teams, overseen by the Superintendent who reports to the Deputy Director, Inspectorate ...