Abandoned pets surge as HK nat’ls leave

The crackdown on dissent fills up an animal shelter

September 6, 2022

HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Cassius and Roxie have spent three months at a Hong Kong dog shelter waiting for new owners.

The two mongrels are victims of a surge in pet abandonments as the city experiences an exodus of residents due to China’s crackdown on dissent as well as some of the world’s strictest Covid restrictions.

They were brought to Hong Kong Dog Rescue after their owners made a sudden decision to relocate back to Britain.

It is an all too familiar story to people running animal shelters in Hong Kong these days.

“We are always full house,” Eva Sit, communications director at HKDR, told AFP against a backdrop of near-constant excitable barks and yowls.

“We find it very difficult to say no to surrender requests because we feel very bad for the dogs.”

Those giving up their pets, Sit explains, fill out a form that includes the reason why.

Emigration used to account for two in 10 cases.

“These days, it’s almost the only reason. Like, maybe eight out of 10 surrender requests we get come with that reason,” she said.

A huge number of local and foreign residents have quit Hong Kong over the last two years because of the political clampdown and harsh Covid control measures.

While much of the world, including rival Asian business hub Singapore, has switched to living with Covid and are reopening, Hong Kong continues to follow a lighter version of China’s strict zero-Covid rules.

The result has been a sudden population decline.


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