• Fri
  • Nov 28, 2014
  • Updated: 4:21pm
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MTR will review policy after death of dog on tracks sparks outrage

Operations chief tells protesters that the corporation will act after outcry at dog's death

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 August, 2014, 4:42pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 August, 2014, 1:27pm
 

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The MTR Corporation has promised to teach staff how to handle animals that wander onto the tracks after the death of a dog hit by a train led to public outrage.

Operations director Dr Jacob Kam Chak-pui made the pledge yesterday when confronted by about 100 protesters.

"We are deeply sorry about our failure to rescue the dog," he told the protesters at the MTR headquarters in Kowloon Bay yesterday afternoon.

"Our frontline staff have not received training on how to deal with such incidents, but we promise that we will set up guidelines and a standard operating procedure for emergency cases for our frontline staff, such as this one."

It will seek advice from animal welfare organisations to help design training and handling methods. A team will also be set up to investigate the handling of Wednesday's incident and a report will be released in about a week, the corporation said.

The dog was hit and killed by a cross-border train from Guangzhou at Fanling Station shortly after 10am on Wednesday.

It had been briefly seen by staff and passengers at neighbouring Sheung Shui station at 9.50am. Trains were halted while station staff tried unsuccessfully to coax the dog back onto the platform.

The dog then hid in the gap under the platform, the MTR said. Trains were allowed to move in and out at 9.58am when the control centre considered the area safe. Drivers were instructed to operate trains manually and at a reduced speed.

At 10.09am, the dog was spotted at the Fanling station by a member of staff, who signalled an incoming train to stop. Station staff launched a search but could not find the dog.

The train was then allowed to depart, and shortly afterwards, the animal was found dead on the track, the MTR said.

Watch: Death of dog on MTR tracks sparks outrage in Hong Kong

Images of the dog trying to get onto the platform, and of its body after it was killed, have been circulated widely on social media.

By yesterday evening, more than 90,000 people had signed an online petition expressing anger and dismay over the MTR's handling of the incident.

Fanling resident Cheung Wai-yee, who claimed to know the dog's owner, said the MTR should have called the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department on the two occasions the dog was seen.

"It should have asked the department to seek the dog's owner by scanning the [dog's] microchip," Cheung said.

Cheung wants to retrieve the carcass but fears it may have been dumped.

Cheung had asked the Food and Environmental Hygiene department and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department about its whereabouts but neither could give him a clear answer.

An MTR spokeswoman said the company had called the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department on Wednesday and followed its instructions to pack the body, label the package and put it in a refuse-collection centre near Fanling station.

A spokesman for the department said that if the body of an animal had been brought to one of its collection points, the department's contractor would treat the body with powdered bleach and seal it in an airtight bag before taking it to a landfill.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on Thursday criticised the MTR Corporation for not enlisting people with experience and training in handling animals, saying the death could have been prevented.

Leung Chi-sing, an MTR train driver and a district councillor, said staff lacked training in handling animals on the tracks and no tools were available at stations to catch animals.

 

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33

This article is now closed to comments

rpasea
Have the people of HK lost their minds? It was a frickin' dog.
53ae0c69-5e94-4706-924a-743c0a320969
SCMP conducted a poll today to see if we think MTR should shut down its rail line to save the dog. I really don't see how this can be useful or representative. The voters, that's us, are all sitting behind our computers with nothing to do. In reality, how we give the answer will depend on what is occupying us at that moment. If I am going home and not in a hurry, hell I am happy to wait for an hour. But what if I happen to be in a hurry to see a dying relative?
53ae0c69-5e94-4706-924a-743c0a320969
While I understand the grievances experienced by dog lovers and also agree that spending only six minutes to look for the missing dog is a bit rough, I do think the criticism directed against the MTR is a bit overblown. It is always easy to look back and criticize someone, especially another profession whose job nature and pressures we understand little about. For example, what if the dog had in fact already escaped back the some route it took to enter the track but someone on the train fainted or had a heart attack during the delay. At what point should they stop looking? No one has dared to suggest an answer so far. I would say definitely not indefinitely. And what are the costs to the passengers for each minute/hours of delay they face? And how do you balance that against the life of a dog? And what about a snake, a cat, a rat or whatever? These are not easy answers. In fact, I doubt anyone can come up with a 'correct' answer. And there are always people who would object to whatever time frame you have come up with.
cleareye
Emotions all over intelligence. Although I am an animal lover, sh*t happens. People think that by stopping an oncoming train was the right solution without thinking how it may effect the entire matrix of the rail and signaling system. Yes, we all think we are experts. If the train had been delayed and the dog saved, but unfortunately created a signal problem that caused a train wreck, then what would the public say? Negligence on people's lives over a dog? It also isn't fair to the crew at the site, as the rails are highly electrified and going below may bring harm to their way. I doubt the MTR can shut off a section of the rail line, as the circuit would be continuous. Let's say a prayer for the dog, and move on with our lives.
kkkuok
Blame (if any) should be directed at the registered owner of the dog for failing to keep their animal under control, at all times.
gardnerguitar@icloud.com
Good god!
A bloody stray dog that should have been put down anyway.
All that fuss by bloody dog lovers
Laying flowers? Give me dog darned break.
Dogs are an environmental disaster.
meoii
Is there a hotline to recruit protesters nowadays?
linagmz@hotmail.com
I am pretty sure that dog had more feelings than you, cold blooded SOB!! I would like to see you on those rails see if you could feel any fear!!!!!!!! What´s wrong with you people!!????
ted_wong
how about a cat next time? frankly i have a duck, how about it run to the track next time? and how about a baby? what should we prepare? mike powder?
daniel.thaler.31
That kind of thing, sadly, just happens. Why does everybody in China and Hog Kong seem to love being in a state of outrage? If they halted all train traffic until they were somehow able to catch the dog or scare him away people would be outraged because of late trains. I don't believe ANYONE wanted to see the dog get killed. Some people are just not happy unless they are persecuting somebody about something. Is that left over from the cultural revolution? You would figure everyone had enough of that after how many million deaths due to persecution?

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