Stray dog snares are strictly humane

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 July, 2013, 1:50am

I refer to the article ("Dog lovers slam lame way of catching strays", July 7).

The article appears to imply that the unfortunate injury to the foot of the dog in question was caused by a snare placed by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

We believe that the injury was not inflicted by the use of a snare. The dog, which was found healthy but limping on-site, had no injury and no bleeding when it was caught in the snare on May 29. It was claimed back by the owner on June 5.

Under the department's stray-dog-management programme, we will catch stray dogs in response to nuisance complaints, potential danger to members of the public and dog-biting incidents, and equipment used includes catching poles and snares.

The department's snares are used only under the close supervision of our trained staff. These snares are always placed near the set-up area and they are never left unattended. A warning sign would also be erected.

As soon as a dog has been caught in a snare, staff will immediately remove it and place it in a cage for onward transport to our animal management centres.

The type of snare used by the department is humane and does not cause injury to a dog's limbs.

Attended dogs can be released without harm by compressing the snare springs.

The use of such snares has been demonstrated to and endorsed by the Animal Welfare Advisory Group.

Regarding the progress of the "trap-neuter-return" trial scheme, three potential sites in Yuen Long, Sai Kung and Lamma Island were identified.

The department, with relevant animal welfare organisations, consulted the local community and the respective district councils on the trial scheme in 2012 but could not obtain support from them. Subsequently two alternative potential sites in Yuen Long and Cheung Chau have been identified and support was sought from the respective councils. Implementation details are being worked out.

The most effective way to reduce the stray dog population and its associated nuisance is to reduce stray dogs at source. The department continues to promote responsible pet ownership.

It urges people to refrain from the impulsive purchase of pets and also to have a lifelong commitment to their pets by taking good care of them, keeping them under proper control and not abandoning them.

Dr Jeffery Jai, senior veterinary officer, Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department