Five dogs dead after eating suspected poison in rat-infested Hong Kong district
Case classified as animal cruelty after pet owner calls police
Five dogs have died after eating suspected pesticide at a street corner in Sham Shui Po – a district with high rodent infestation rates – with the city on the alert over a rampant rat problem.
A dog owner reported the death of the animals to police on Friday afternoon.
The man, Ngai, 57, who owned four dogs, said his pets and one belonging to a friend died a few days ago after eating what was suspected to be poison at the junction of Nam Cheong Street and Ki Lung Street in Sham Shui Po.
Ngai and his friend, surnamed Yim, returned to the street corner on Friday and called police to request an investigation. Officers found some suspected toxic chemicals at the scene.
After a preliminary investigation, the force classified the case as animal cruelty. No one was arrested.
A spokeswoman for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the pair had sought its help on Thursday after their dogs were thought to have been poisoned on Tuesday. She said they called the organisation again on Friday after they found some poisonous bait outside a restaurant along the route they walked their dogs.
The dog deaths came as local pest control experts sounded the alarm after an exceptionally early and long hot spell spurred breeding among rats and drove them from underground nests.
Gary Yam Wing-keung, a professional rat catcher with 30 years’ experience, said that since April, orders for his services in some districts had jumped 20 to 30 per cent, compared with the same period last year.
Another control expert, Henry Cheung Kwok-hang, said business had spiked more than 30 per cent in three months.
According to the latest rodent infestation rates, released by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, Sham Shui Po had the second highest overall rate of 6.2 per cent among 19 districts in the city in 2017, after Mong Kok with 6.6 per cent.
The data also showed that in the second half of last year, the infestation rate in Sham Shui Po was the highest across the city, reaching 6.5 per cent.
The rodent infestation rate is the ratio of bait bitten in the area.
The SPCA urged dog owners to be vigilant and put a leash on their pets, adding that if they found bait or anything suspicious, they should report it to the organisation and police.