Cruelty to Animals

Dog-swinging video horrifies animal groups

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2008, 12:00am

A YouTube video of a man swinging a dog by its tail at a Hong Kong dog show has raised uproar among local animal rights groups.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Society for Abandoned Animals, Animals Asia and Lamma Animal Protection condemned it as abuse yesterday.

'I would expect that the risks of such handling would include pain and discomfort, potential dislocation of the coccygeal [tail] vertebrae and nerve damage, especially if the dog wriggled or tried to pull away when being handled like this,' Animals Asia senior veterinary surgeon Heather Bacon said. 'I would absolutely not endorse a dog being handled in this manner.'

The groups separately are drafting letters of complaint. Lamma Animal Protection's Sheila McClelland is asking dog kennel groups around the world whether they consider the practice acceptable.

On May 31, a YouTube user, cyrusmaguire, uploaded a clip of the man with his black-and-white American cocker spaniel at the 82nd All-Breed Championship Dog Show, organised by the Hong Kong Kowloon Kennel Association, held that day.

The clip shows the man picking up and swinging the dog to and fro four times. Another man, with a ribbon on his lapel, presumably a judge, does not react.

Animals Asia and the Lamma group believe the judge then allowed the man to pass through to the next category, for hunting dogs.

A spokeswoman for the kennel association said it was a 'very common practice' and asked journalists to consult the SPCA and police to determine whether the law had been violated before questioning the practice. It could not identify the dog or owner.

It was unclear whether the act constituted a breach of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance. Police referred a question on its legality to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department last night.

The SPCA said the action technically was not illegal, though it was 'absolutely unacceptable', while El Chan Suk-kuen of the Society for Abandoned Animals said it 'definitely is a breach of law'.