After visits by the police and SPCA, Christian New Being Fellowship has responded positively to complaints that it is cruelly confining more than 20 dogs in small cages. Extracts from a letter to SAI KUNG BUZZ by CEO Sunny Fung:
“Thank you for the attention and effort paid about the dogs-caring issue. We are also dog lovers and we do care about the conditions of our dogs. They are part of us like friends. They grew up together with our young men (former drug addicts) and have become their support. Actually, we have already planned to improve the living conditions of our dogs in recent years. However, due to the change of location of our training centre, we have been held up by the rearrangement of the new training centre, and thus the renewal of the dogs’ kennel was delayed. We apologise for the delay of the renewal and are trying our best to speed up our progress.”
Animal welfare activists have visited the drug addict rehab centre in the country park many times. Their complaints of ill-treatment of the dogs who are locked in cages they can barely turn around in led to visits to the centre first by the SPCA and then the police. The SPCA said the dogs’ condition appeared to be good and there was nothing they could do about their confinement in small cages because it was not illegal. Sai Kung police operations chief Max Yip said his officers found no criminal activity and talked to the person-in-charge.
Here is a report written before the encouraging message from Sunny Fung, which says improvement in the dogs’ conditions is underway, was received. It sets the scene:
The two animal activists were getting angry. It was 9.30am on a Friday and more than 20 dogs were locked in cages so small they could barely turn around with no water. There was no sign of any human. This was the Christian New Being Fellowship drug rehab centre isolated on a bush trail in the country park. Half a dozen black goats lay on the floor of a larger cage. They too had no water. One of the activists, Roger Medcalf, said during a previous visit on a Sunday there was also no sign of human care for the locked-in animals.
At 9.45 on the second visit, 12 young men shirtless and in blue shorts turned up with two older men. They immediately went to work feeding the dogs and giving them water. Some of the dogs were let out of the cages. The attitude of the young men to the dogs was good, caring. One young man led an adult goat out into a field and little ones scampered behind.
Roger introduced himself to one of the young men, who said he was a former drug addict called Ah-Lo. He said he did not know why the dogs were kept in small cages. Maggie Leung, an animal welfare activist who is Roger’s neighbour, talked to one of the older men, who said he was Mr Fong. In Cantonese she tried to convince Mr Fong that keeping dogs in small cages was not the right thing to do at all. It was cruel and the dogs could become psychologically disturbed by long hours of confinement.
Later Roger and Maggie stopped at the Christian New Being Fellowship dormitory a quarter of a mile further around the bush trail below the Lady MacLehose Centre. They spoke to Dominic, an affable character in a yellow New Being shirt. Dominic was open and forth-coming and conceded that they were not getting everything right at the rehab centre. He said the land was rented from villagers who squabbled causing problems. They had to keep the dogs under control in case they bit hikers. Dominic appeared to agree that keeping the dogs in small cages was not good. Maggie and Roger said to him this was not necessary anyway because the New Being camp has large fenced compounds that the dogs can run around in. All they need is kennels for weather protection.
Photo credit: Maggie Leung