Police discover 135 dogs and cats living in filthy Tai Kok Tsui flat with no aircon
Tai Kok Tsui flat may have been used to breed pets in unhygienic conditions, police say
Johnny Tam and Clifford Lo
A 60-year-old man was arrested after police found 135 dogs and cats caged in a private rental flat in Tai Kok Tsui with no air-conditioning.
Crates were piled one on top of another in the flat that was no bigger than 900 sq ft and littered with trash and animal waste. The dogs were mainly small or medium breeds and included poodles, Pomeranians and Welsh corgis.
Police suspected the flat was used as an illegal breeding site and kennels, Ngan Wai-hung, acting chief inspector of Mong Kok district's crime division, said yesterday.
"Hygiene conditions in the flat were poor, with insufficient space and ventilation," Ngan said. "Some of the dogs are suffering from skin and eye diseases."
Police received complaints from neighbours last week of a strong dog odour coming from the flat on 101 Tung Chau Street.
It was not until Monday evening that officers found the suspect, a tenant of the flat, on site.
The 101 dogs were locked up in 64 crates - with at least one crate containing three dogs - in the living room and two bedrooms. The 34 cats were kept in 12 crates. No humans lived in the flat, which had been used to keep animals for several years, Ngan said.
"The suspect told officers he visited the flat every day to clean the place and feed the animals."
The man was arrested on suspicion of abuse of animals and released on bail yesterday.
Rebecca Ngan Yee-ling of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the city needed a licensing system for animal breeding.
"We're talking about lives, not canned food," she said. "The breeding of animals should be controlled as well as the selling of animals."
The society took in 33 dogs and three of the cats, with the rest taken to three animal management centres run by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. A department spokeswoman said its vets would monitor the conditions of the animals.
Mark Mak Chi-ho, executive chairman of the Non-Profit Making Veterinary Clinic, believes it was highly likely that the site was a breeding farm. "The breeds of the dogs are popular among dog lovers in Hong Kong," Mak said.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance states that anyone who keeps any animal in a way that may cause it needless or avoidable suffering is liable to up to three years in jail and a HK$200,000 fine.