Three dogs found dead in Hong Kong village, prompting police investigation
Incident in Tai Po comes soon after reports of several dogs found dead about 1.5km away
Police were investigating on Tuesday whether foul play was involved in the deaths of three dogs found in a village in Hong Kong.
Officers were called to Wai Tau Tsuen off Tai Wo Service Road West in Tai Po after receiving a report from a woman at 9.45am.
“The woman told officers that two dead dogs were found suspected of having been poisoned,” a police spokeswoman said.
Officers saw two dead dogs at the scene, but no poisoned bait. A third dog was found later that day.
The case followed local media reports of several dogs found dead in Tai Wo Village near the upscale Hong Lok Yuen estate off Fanling Highway over the weekend. The two villages are about 1.5km (0.9 miles) apart. Neither police nor the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) received any reports on the Tai Wo Village incident.
A police source said officers would contact Tai Wo villagers to confirm the reports.
On Tuesday morning, SPCA workers patrolled the village and put up posters to warn pet owners of the apparent danger to dogs.
In Hong Kong, cruelty to animals carries a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to HK$200,000 (US$25,480).
The SPCA received 838 complaints about animal cruelty in 2016-17, up 7.4 per cent from 2015-16.
In November last year, more than 10 dogs were found dead near a remote village on Lantau Island. Poisoning was suspected.
Hong Kong police launched the Animal Watch Scheme in 2011 to coordinate investigations into animal abuse cases. Fourteen dedicated teams, comprising mainly inspectors from the criminal investigation department, were also set up. But animal abuse often happens without witnesses, making prosecutions more difficult, according to the force.
Police say their specialist teams investigating animal abuse take the crimes “as seriously as murder”, despite fewer than half the cases ending in convictions.
Acting senior superintendent Dennis Cheng Wai-kin said in January that of an average of 60 to 80 abuse cases each year, only 30 to 40 per cent result in successful convictions.