Government must introduce trap, neuter, return scheme for strays

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 November, 2010, 12:00am

I refer to the letters from Catherine LaJeunesse ('Deal with strays problem by making pet owners obey the existing laws', November 7) and Brooke Babington, of STOP! Save HK's Cats and Dogs ('Government's catch-and-kill policy for stray animals has clearly failed', November 14).

Many of Ms LaJeunesse's suggestions are absolutely correct.

The problem is that, as Ms Babington correctly points out, these are all suggestions that the animal welfare organisations of Hong Kong have been making to the government for many years and which the government has rejected for just as long.

Ms Lajeunesse criticises the concept of trap, neuter, return. The TNR scheme which the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Society for Abandoned Animals, among others, are pushing for would be supervised by animal welfare professionals and would involve the careful selection of suitable sites and dog populations. Each dog would be desexed and fully vaccinated, and any dogs of a dangerous or otherwise unsuitable temperament would be removed. They would then be supervised by carers in the same way as cats are under the SPCA's Cat Colony Care Programme.

This would address the animal welfare issues raised by Ms LaJeunesse.

TNR is intended to reduce the number of stray animals in the most efficient, humane and cost- effective way possible.

Currently, the vast majority of animals caught by government officers are destroyed within four days of their capture.

The deliberate killing of a perfectly healthy dog, when there is a perfectly viable alternative, can never be described as humane. To describe it as such is obscene.

If the government does not implement a TNR scheme in the near future, the incidence of individuals taking matters into their own hands out of sheer frustration and implementing their own schemes will become more common.

A government-approved TNR scheme really is the best alternative to the government's current failed policy of catch and kill.

Wong So-ping, Tai Po