Dog rescued from Victoria Harbour found dead after being ‘thrown from roof’ of Hong Kong building
Police arrest son of owner for cruelty to animals, and according to a source, the man admitted his role in the act, but denied having a hand in previous harbour incident
A Japanese spitz rescued by marine police from Victoria Harbour on Saturday has died after police suspect it was thrown from the roof of a 23-storey residential block in Hong Kong.
On Wednesday, officers arrested the dog owner’s son, 23, for animal cruelty at his home on the ninth floor of the same building in Cheung Sha Wan.
Detectives from Sham Shui Po police district are handling the case. A police source later said the man, who was released from prison last year for burglary, admitted to throwing the dog from the building on impulse as he found it annoying. But he denied dumping the animal in the sea last week.
Earlier in the day, police received a call at 6.17am from a resident who heard a loud bang at Cheung Fai Building on Cheung Wah Street. The male dog was found dead from the fall and officers from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) took the body away.
The source said: “Officers had arrested the man for cruelty to animals. Initial investigation showed the man’s mother was the owner of the dog.”
Broken glass and blood stains were also found on the terrace of the building, police said.
A check on the dog’s identity chip showed it was the same pet which fell into Victoria Harbour outside the Harbour City shopping centre in Tsim Sha Tsui on Saturday, according to the source.
It was plucked from the water by marine police before being taken to the SPCA office for examination. No injuries were found on the dog at the time. After being checked by a vet, staff issued a verbal warning to the female owner when she came to pick up the dog.
Police had treated the Saturday case as “animal in danger” but the source said officers later switched to investigating if the dog was thrown into the sea.
An SPCA spokeswoman said: “We are saddened to hear the news regarding the death of the Japanese spitz. The SPCA is working closely with the police in assisting them with this investigation.”
Lawmaker Roy Kwong Chun-yu from the Democratic Party condemned the cruelty and said police should set up a team overseeing such matters, as animal abuse cases were common.
Au Fung-lin, chairwoman of charitable organisation Green Animals Association Limited, said even strong enforcement might not be enough to stamp out cruelty to animals as such problems originated from the mindsets of owners.
She urged the government and NGOs to step up publicity on the matter and raise awareness among Hongkongers. “It is like throwing your family member from a building. Humans and animals are equal,” Au said.
“People should not treat animals and pets like toys or furniture. They are your friends or family members. We should have more attachment to them.”
Calling the incident over the Japanese spitz “ridiculous” and “cruel”, El Chan Suk-kuen, founder of the Society for Abandoned Animals, an NGO, appealed to pet owners and their family members to seek support when faced with problems concerning their furry companions.
“They should seek help or support through different channels to determine if they can continue to keep their pets, or if it is necessary to find new owners so such tragedies can stop,” she said.
Chan said a bill should be introduced in the legislature to ban repeat animal abusers from keeping pets again.
Cruelty to animals is a serious crime in Hong Kong and carries a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment and a fine of HK$200,000 (US$25,480).
In light of such matters, police launched the Animal Watch Scheme in 2011 to combat abuse. Members came from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, SPCA, City University’s school of veterinary medicine, as well as veterinarian associations.
In the first half of 2017, authorities prosecuted 10 people and convicted another 10 for abusing animals, compared with 15 prosecutions and 11 convictions in 2016.