Colourful doggie homing carnival needs expansion, animal activists say

Proud parade of 'mongrels', working dogs, celebrities with pedigrees and ordinary folks

Members of the Mongrel Club: We all qualify

Sai Kung’s dog adoption carnival on March 7 and 8 attracted hundreds of people and as many dogs, but few of them were available for homing.

LAP founder Shelia McCelland

Most dogs were brought by visitors.  Jen Chan of Lifelong Animal Protection Charity said the event was nonetheless a success. “We arranged homes for eight dogs and had enquiries from about 60 other people.”

Just about every dog welfare society in Hong Kong was present under red and blue canopies in the playground opposite the swimming pool.

SPCA, Society for Abandoned Animals, HK Dog Rescue and Sai Kung Stray Friends were there.  So was Sai Kung Buffalo

LAP organiser Jen Chan

Watch represented by Carol Biddell and the Hong Kong Herpetology Foundation. These volunteers rescue imported turtles, lizards and snakes that have been abandoned.

The Mongrel Club presence was headed by Rebecca Ngan.  She handed out name cards for her dog, King, who helps children learn to read. “King goes to schools and motivates kids. He sits there and the kids like to read to him.”

Rebecca said the club sets out to convince people that mongrels are just as good as any pedigree. “Too many people think of them as just guard dogs and fear they will bite.” No such thing as a mongrel:  Mother was a dog, father was a dog, it’s a dog.

Jen said the Ag & Fish department-organised event had many restrictions.  Each charity was allowed to bring only five dogs at a time. Dogs couldn’t be given for adoption on the day, nor could donations be collected.

The concrete quadrangle was teeming with dogs at its busiest on Sunday.   Alsatians, labradoodles, spaniels, chihuahuas and Sai Kung pedigrees had been brought for a fun day out. Xylophone music tinkled from the loudspeakers.  Many people were in wheelchairs.

AFCD had booths for games and gave away pet food.  SPCA provided veterinary advice.  Pop singers and TV presenters paraded with their dogs. At least one personality was upbraided for wearing fur. Dogs performed on a stage: police dogs, abandoned dogs trained by AFCD to be Customs detectors, and a team from the Mongrel Club demonstrating obedience skills.

Jen said she didn’t know how many people had visited the two-day carnival in total, “but it must have been over 300 because we handed out so many leaflets.”   Lifelong Animal Protection Charity homes about 300 dogs and 170 cats a year, she said. She and colleagues Minnie Leung, Shelia McCelland (founder of LAP) and Georgie Bradfield avoid housing dogs and cats themselves.  They don’t rescue an animal until they have a home ready to foster it.

Carol said some activists believe the event should be expanded to “Pet Adoption” Day moving beyond just dogs and she would raise this with the AFCD.

Hong Kong’s Herpetology Foundation rescues and cares for turtles, lizards and snakes that expletives have abandoned

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