This may be the last Christmas for 66 stray dogs at a Sai Kung shelter.
Sai Kung Stray Friends says it has been told to vacate its Ho Chung premises, and unless it can find HK$3.5 million to buy an alternative site, the dogs will most likely have to be put down.
Chairwoman Narelle Pamuk said the shelter was in a desperate situation and she appealed to the public to help. "It really is a matter of life and death for these dogs. There is nowhere we can go with them. They will have to be put down," she said. "We urgently need help. About HK$3.5 million will save us immediately, or alternatively we wonder if one of Hong Kong's major landlords could come up with an alternative piece of land for us to rent.
"We have done so much as volunteers and Hong Kong should be proud of these kennels. I don't think any of us could live with ourselves if all these dogs … have to be put down."
Pamuk said the group had spent about HK$2 million renovating the kennels after the owner promised to sell them the site. They also had to pay the original kennel operator HK$950,000 to leave. But the owner then sold the land to a company that told the group it had until April to leave.
"The new owner has done nothing wrong," Pamuk said. "We don't have a lease because a new lease was about to be signed with the old owner, then he turned round and sold the property. He said he would get the new owner to sign the lease, but that didn't happen."
Pamuk said the group was hoping to move the kennels to adjacent land that it had been using as an exercise paddock. They had been offered the plot for HK$3.5 million, but when they could not raise the cash, the owner posted a notice warning them not to trespass on the land.
"We are asking [for someone] to buy it as an investor and we will pay them monthly rent," Pamuk said. "Alternatively, we are appealing to Hong Kong's major landlords to give us a one- or two-year lease on land they are not using. We really are desperate."