The endless filibustering in our legislature has turned up snippets of fascinating information, like how "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung is putting our already overworked sniffer dogs at risk.
People Power's Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, himself one of the four filibustering lawmakers alongside Leung, sounded the alarm in the Legislative Council on Thursday night. So it must be true.
The four so-called radicals are upset there was no provision for universal pension in the latest government budget. To retaliate, Leung has proposed budget cuts to every government department, including customs and excise, which according to Chan, has 47 overworked sniffer dogs.
But Chan warned: "Leung's across-the-board cuts proposal will affect not only the public but animals too."
He said the dogs were being exploited already. They were imported after the September 11 terror attacks in the US. The K9 unit used to just have to sniff for drugs. Now they have to check for explosives at major transit ports.
Everyone seems to turn to those heroic canines when there is trouble.
"Recently, because of cross-border milk powder smuggling, some people even suggest the dogs should be deployed to sniff out smuggled milk formula," Chan said. He says there are even suggestions that retired dogs should be deployed to check for drugs in schools. He considered that an outrage.
"They are already retired. Do we still want to make them sniff school bags?" he asked. "You have to consider their retirement benefits and their welfare."
To give us an idea of the extent of exploitation, he said when a senior customs official retired in 2009, he made all 47 dogs pose with him for a photo session, leaving all the major ports exposed.
Exposed! I tell you! What if terrorists decided to strike then?
What Chan found most outrageous is that customs officers had given sleeping pills to dogs that worked nights because they had trouble sleeping in daytime. The department would not confirm or deny the practice.
Animal lovers and rights activists, time to bombard Leung - at 2537 0229 or email him on email@example.com - to drop cuts to the K9 unit, or better demand a funding rise.