Beautiful pet shop puppy never had a chance

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 July, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 July, 2002, 12:00am

This is a plea from the heart to anyone in Hong Kong who is looking to own a puppy or kitten.


Please think twice before purchasing from a local pet shop. I would like to share my sad experience.


Recently my two children managed to persuade me to take a walk down Victory Avenue, in Ho Man Tin. This street is full of pet shops, their windows displaying the prettiest, cutest puppies and kittens of all varieties. We are an animal-loving family. We already have three dogs and two cats, all rescued. I was not looking for another pet.


However, we met and fell in love with Misha, a beautiful 12-week-old, silver-grey husky. She was in the display window of one of the Victory Avenue pet shops. The shop staff showed me papers proving the puppy came from Australia and had had had her first vaccines. The asking price was $8,800. This was not an impulse buy. We went home and talked about it. However, it was clear we had all fallen under this puppy's spell and two days later we bought her.


By the third day I was a little concerned about an apparent stomach upset. We took her to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) clinic where the vet explained the common occurrence of diseases in pet shop puppies in Hong Kong.


By the next day, Misha was vomiting and had diarrhoea. She could not eat. Back at the SPCA clinic, staff again explained the common occurrence of serious diseases to be found in pet shop puppies. By the evening she was much worse so we went to the emergency SPCA clinic.


She became very weak and was in extreme pain. She died on the morning of the sixth day.


This was a very upsetting experience for my family as well as being an expensive lesson. Hong Kong's pet shops are breeding grounds for viral diseases such as distemper and parvovirus.


Vaccinations in a very young puppy are meaningless. The poor little things are weak from long journeys, shocked by so many changes in their environment and they are simply not strong enough to cope with the diseases they are exposed to in the pet shops.


I would urge readers, if you are thinking of owning a pet, please contact the SPCA or a reputable vet for advice. It will spare you and your family a great deal of distress and save you money.


The sale of puppies and kittens in pet shops should be banned and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department must review its regulations on animal imports.


JUDITH KWONG


Clear Water Bay