Abandoned dogs fall victim to Typhoon Mangkhut's power as animal welfare group urges Hong Kong pet owners to keep animals inside during storms
Some animals were left on boats or found in coastal areas by residents and animal welfare groups
The founder of an animal welfare group has urged pet owners not to forget about their animals during typhoons after several dogs were found abandoned when monster storm Mangkhut lashed Hong Kong.
The appeal from Debbie Chow Mun-yee, of Sai Kung-based Home Dog Home rescue and homing service, was made after she and Narelle Pamuk, chairwoman of the Sai Kung Stray Friends Foundation, helped save a mongrel from an overturned boat in choppy waters near Sai Kung Pier on Sunday during the most intense storm in the city’s history.
Residents spotted the male mongrel stranded on the boat on Sunday morning.
But the dog jumped into the water and disappeared during a failed rescue attempt that night by Pamuk’s son, Cole Pamuk, and his friend Alex Hunter.
“My son went to the dog on the boat and he jumped into the water. My son was able to grab him and tried to push him up a ladder. The dog struggled and fell backwards in the water.
“Again he got him and managed to put him up on the waterfront. The dog bit my son’s friend and ran and jumped back into the water,” Pamuk said.
The animal then reappeared on the capsized boat on Monday morning. Several fishermen and residents approached the dog and managed to retrieve him using a rope.
Chow said a fisherman contacted the dog owner – another fisherman who had kept the animal on the boat as a guard. The man said he would collect the dog but did not show up.
Chow and Pamuk brought the dog, who was not microchipped, to Sai Kung Police Station, where rescuers from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals contacted the fisherman on the phone. But the man denied this was his dog and claimed he had not lost an animal. The call was later cut off.
“There has to be a law to stop boat and fisherman leaving dogs on boats. This could have been a person badly injured tonight trying to rescued this dog,” Pamuk said.
The dog was mostly uninjured but showed excessive secretion from his eyes, which had suffered some minor wounds. He was taken to a vet for treatment before being settled in a kennel under Pamuk.
But another mongrel was not as lucky.
On Tuesday night, the body of a female dog was found at the nearby Tui Min Hoi coastal area. The animal was also not microchipped. Chow, who picked up the body, said she believed the dog was from a boat moored nearby.
“It was those irresponsible dog owners who caused her death. I’m angry,” she said.
At Nam Wan, on the outlying Peng Chau island, yet another mongrel was found left alone on a sheltered boat at sea on Saturday, before the storm hit.
The owner reportedly told police the guard dog had been there for years, which was why he had been left there.
The incident drew reactions from Facebook users, with some urging other boat operators on the island to take the dog home temporarily. The owner finally took him away on Sunday morning.
Chow called on dog owners to bring their pets to safe indoor areas and away from the wind and rain before a storm.
“You had run for safety. Why could you ignore your dogs’ lives and leave them there?” she asked.
SPCA deputy director of welfare Dr Fiona Woodhouse said outdoor dogs and cats should be kept safe inside their owners’ premises for the duration of a storm. If owners were concerned about their safety at home and decided to move, they should take the pets with them.