Aid group accuses police of inaction over animal cruelty

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 August, 2006, 12:00am

Vet says chopped puppy could have died during delays

An animal rescue organisation that saved a brutally attacked puppy from near death has hit out at police for their inaction over this and previous cruelty cases on Lantau Island.

The 10-week-old female puppy - which had part of one leg amputated after someone chopped three of her legs and left her in a creek in Mui Wo Kau Tsuen for at least 10 hours - has been named Buena.

The veterinarian who named her managed to implant pins into her two hind legs and front paw, but the Protection of Animals Lantau South (PALS) will have to wait another two weeks to see if Buena develops any complications or infections, especially gangrene.

Jacqui Green from PALS said that when Buena was found on Thursday with severe chop wounds to three of her legs, police wanted the puppy to be taken to the nearest police station instead of rushing it to the nearest animal clinic for surgery.

'The ladies involved in saving the puppy had quite a bit of trouble with the police because they didn't want to release the dog. The police were insensitive,' Ms Green said.

'If they had delayed it any longer, the dog would have died.

'They said they had procedures, but these should not preclude life-saving treatment.'

Since the attack, police have only contacted the organisation once, to ask whether it was a genuine animal welfare group, Ms Green said.

'But they have already got this information. Just a few weeks ago, they called me at 9.30pm to go to the police station to pick up a kitten, so someone there knows who we are.'

In the past few years, the organisation has referred about three or four cruelty cases to police, but Ms Green said they had not been followed up.

Okka Scherer, also from PALS, said that as there was no chip on Buena, her owner could not be traced, but she believed the dog's friendly nature suggested she had been in contact with humans.

Ms Scherer said a lot of puppies, especially female ones, get abandoned when they grow and start consuming a lot of food.

She said there had also been cases where the animals were injured to prevent them returning home.

'Usually what happens is they abandon them. But when the animals find their way home, then they will [hurt them] to make sure they cannot get back home,' she said.

PALS said it had been contacted by people offering Buena a home, but that it would assess the puppy's needs before finding her the right home.

Police yesterday said they had classified the case as animal cruelty.

They were investigating and believed the puppy was a stray as she had no identifying chip, a police spokesman said. He declined to give further details.