Thinking of getting a new furry friend? Do your research on what makes an animal breeder a good or a bad one, and consider adopting instead of buying.
This advice from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) comes after police arrested three people for illegal dog breeding in Fung Kat Heung, near Yuen Long, last Wednesday. A 43-year-old Hongkonger woman and two Indonesian women, both aged 30, were suspected of keeping a breeding house inside a cargo container yard. They are said to have illegal bred more than 100 dogs – mostly poodles, schnauzers, Pomeranians and chihuahuas. Many of the dogs found were weak, and severely underfed, according to the SPCA.
On October 31, the Legislative Council released papers on what is and isn’t allowed when trading and breeding animals and birds. A rule has been in place since March of this year, which states that no one is allowed to sell any animal unless they have a license to do so.
The Animal Trader Licence (ATL) is for people who sell dogs or other animals or birds, but do not keep dogs for breeding and sale, as an animal trader. The Dog Breeder License Category A is for those who have fewer than five female dogs for breeding, and selling those dogs or their offspring. The Dog Breeder License Category B is for those who keep five or more female dogs. There is also a one-off permit for those who want to sell just one dog.
Any breeder or seller who don’t have a license will be punished. The maximum penalty for carrying on a business as an animal trader without a license is a fine of HK$100,000. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department’s (AFCD) investigation unit regularly inspects shops selling pet accessories to make sure they’re not selling animals too.
The true cost of that doggy in the window: things you need to think about before getting a dog in Hong Kong
If you still want a pet but you’re worried your home is too small, that’s okay.
“Any flat, big or small, is just another cage,” said Fiona Woodhouse, the Deputy Director of Welfare at SPCA. “Space isn’t the issue here. The important thing here is the amount of time, care and interaction you have with them – whether that’s going on a hike or playing with them in the park.”
If you are concerned about where you are getting your pet from, or where you are thinking of getting them from, you can check with the AFCD to make sure the breeder has a license. Call them on 1823, or email them. If you have any doubts, find a different breeder, or adopt from the SPCA instead.
Cases can also be reported to the police, or to the SPCA.