Quite often the time, animal cruelty is taking place right under our nose. An animal’s cry, a distinct stench emitting from a house, or the sound of an animal being hit, all point towards suspected animal cruelty. Here to provide some helpful tips on what to do if you suspect animal cruelty is SPCA Deputy Director (Inspectorate) Karl Mak.
A Sad Story to Remember
During July of last year, the SPCA, along with the Police, arrived at an abandoned house in Yuen Long, Pat Heung to discover eight dog carcasses and two skeletal dog remains. Among these were six dog survivors who were taken to the SPCA for veterinary treatment and intensive care. Since then, five of these dogs have been adopted to their loving homes, leaving Siu Hak still looking for his at our Wan Chai Adoption Centre. The offender of this case was convicted with animal cruelty and keeping dogs without a valid license, and charged with one year of imprisonment and a fine of $2,000. Click here for more information about Siu Hak, and to meet the other dogs currently seeking forever homes.
Sadly, animal abuse is something that happens all too often in our city, and often goes unreported. It is so important for people to understand what action they need to take when it comes to reporting suspected animal cruelty that can help animal victims, as well as providing vital evidence to the Police in order for the perpetrator to receive the lawful punishment they deserve. If you suspect animal cruelty taking place, do not hesitate and call the SPCA’s 24-hour rescue hotline on (+852) 2711 1000, the Police on 999, or the Agriculture Fisheries Conservation Department on 1823.
What to Do when You Suspect Animal Cruelty Taking Place
Here are the steps you need to take in order to report suspected animal cruelty to the authorities:
- Record the type, breed, and the number of animals
- Describe the location, and provide the date and time of the incident/s
- Describe the frequency and length of abuse
- Other evidence: photographs, videos, or CCTV are extremely helpful
Important Things to Remember
Before you take action in reporting suspected animal abuse, it is vital that you consider the following factors, in order to protect yourself as well as the victimised animal you are seeking to help:
1. Your Personal Safety
Remember your own personal safety when taking photographs or recorded material. Members of the public should also be wary of entering private property as there may be legal liabilities.
2. Distribution of Evidence
It is important to keep the evidence confidential to avoid the animal abuser from destroying any evidence prior to investigation. Photographs or recorded material that are posted online may affect prosecutions on the basis of a breach of a fair trial, so please disclose information at discretion.
3. What Happens Next?
As a non-profit organisation, our SPCA inspectorate do not have law enforcement power. We do, however, work very closely with the Police and the Agriculture Fisheries Conservation Department (AFCD). We prioritise all calls and online reports of cruelty and injured animals according to their urgency and severity.
After our SPCA inspectorate confirms a case as suspected animal cruelty, we immediately contact the Police. The Police will cordon the premise, make necessary arrest, and inspectors will assist in the investigation by providing expert opinion advice by assessing the animal’s condition, the environment, the size of the cages, the cleanliness, and whether there is food and water present.
Animal victims are vital evidence and will be taken to the SPCA Centre, with permission granted by the Police. SPCA veterinarians will provide examination and necessary medical treatment, and most importantly, produce an expert testimony on the condition of the animal during intake. This crucial testimony is provided to the Police for a further criminal investigation that may lead to charges and the next judicial step.
Remember! Do NOT hesitate to report suspected animal abuse by calling the numbers given above. You could be saving a life!
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