SPCA criticised as rescued pups are nearly put down

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 April, 2012, 12:00am


The SPCA has come under fire from animal rescuers after it was found a group of puppies that had been guaranteed a foster home ended up at a government kennel, where they would have faced certain death.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says its resources are overwhelmed by the many abandoned animals and it was forced by space constraints to give up the pups to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

'I don't know how the SPCA can consider themselves a non-kill organisation,' said Okka Scherer of Protection of Animals Lantau South (Pals), which has since taken in the young canines.

The five mongrels were given name cards, injections and de-worming tablets at an SPCA clinic in Mui Wo on March 20 and then sent to the society's Wan Chai branch to be re-homed, with assurances that they would be safe. But days later, the society sent four of the puppies on to a kennel in Pok Fu Lam.

Scherer saw the dogs and recalled she had heard about the discovery of five pups on Lantau. She took the brood and visited restaurant manager Julie Nunn, whose family got the puppies from a man around the Buddha statue on Ngong Ping.

'She drove them over and asked me, 'Are these the puppies you found?'' Nunn said. 'I was so shocked. I had offered to foster the puppies if there was no space.'

The society said it was inundated with animals that day, with 20 other puppies coming in before those from Mui Wo arrived, straining the already limited space in the kennels.

'In a perfect world, we would've loved to have said 'Julie gets a call' ... but that day it was the perfect storm,' SPCA executive director Sandy Macalister said. 'We'll work very hard to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.'

Nunn said the SPCA should make sure rescuers are told if the animals they bring in will not be kept.

The SPCA has a no-kill policy for healthy animals, but those it cannot keep are sent to the Agriculture Department, where they are euthanised if not removed by any of the 11 authorised animal groups in four days.

The society sent 924 dogs last year and put to sleep 1,138 others that were sick or injured.

'Most people don't realise the SPCA does this,' said teacher Kamy Yeung, 26, who fosters several animals in her Kwun Tong flat.