The owner of a black and white husky took the dog to a clinic in Wan Chai to get it sterilised yesterday, but the three-old-year pooch clearly had his own feelings about the operation.
All was going to plan as staff at the headquarters for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals injected the dog with a tranquilliser and took it into the operation room at about 10.30am, a spokeswoman for the society said.
Once inside the operation room it was placed on an operating table where, 'as it was about to be injected with anaesthetic, it suddenly bit our vet and nurse', she said.
Police said the 29-year-old, expatriate vet was bitten on the right hand and the 38-year-old nurse was bitten on the left hand. The spokeswoman said the nurse passed out for a few minutes after the attack but had regained consciousness before being carried to an ambulance.
The two men were taken to Ruttonjee Hospital and were discharged after receiving treatment.
The husky did not have the sterilisation operation after the attack, according to the society.
It was returned to its owner, who took the dog to the Hong Kong Animal Management Centre run by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department in Victoria Road, Pok Fu Lam.
The department's spokeswoman said the owner was ordered to keep the dog at home for a seven-day observation period, to check for rabies. 'Our staff will make a home visit to check,' she said.
The society's spokeswoman said: 'The attack is very rare. It is the first such incident since I joined the society about five years ago.'
She said an investigation showed the procedures did not go wrong and no human error was involved. It was a one-off incident, she said.
'Both the vet and nurse are experienced staff,' the spokeswoman added.
The vet has worked for the society for several years and the nurse has worked for it for more than 10 years.
The society said more than 10 sterilisation operations are carried out at its Wan Chai headquarters every day.