August 10th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments
It was a dogless day today as I was in meetings all afternoon, but of course I have my own supply of furry friends on Lamma to keep me occupied. In this line of work it’s not all just about rescuing and re-homing dogs – although that is the ultimate aim, of course – but it’s also about the constant need to keep the funding coming in to support the organisation, bearing in mind that we rely entirely on donations and what we can raise through events such as Peak to Fong to be able to operate. It’s a constant concern, especially as the lack of a permanent site is forever at the back of my mind, and trying to plan ahead without any long-term security is extremely difficult. I was asked (again) today what we would do if we had to leave our Tai Po site without having anywhere else to go, and I don’t have an answer for that. We faced the same situation when we had to move out of our Pokfulam kennels and it was only at the very last minute that we were offered our current temporary refuge, and since then the search for a new home for the dogs has never stopped. It’s not that there isn’t a huge supply of vacant land throughout the New Territories, it’s that it’s impossible to get the necessary waivers to use the land for anything. The laws relating to land in the New Territories date back to colonial days and are extraordinarily complicated. Anyone living in any of the NT villages will know all about the local politics and the Village Heads, who rule like kings in their own area.
On top of that there is the constant problem of the ever-growing number of dogs being bought and then abandoned, and the lack of personal responsibility that dog owners seem to take for their pets. A dog is thrown out when a baby arrives or when it is no longer convenient, and HKDR (or other organisations) are simply expected to take them in. What do you do or say when there is really no space for new dogs, but still the surrender requests keep coming in? It’s not the dogs’ fault, they are the helpless victims of their owner’s fecklessness and total lack of thoughtfulness, but when – and how – do you stop?
I know that plans for TNR (Trap, Neuter and Return) trials are going ahead, but there are always reasons for delay, the latest being the local District Council elections. I also know that AFCD are trying to promote adoption from their Animal Management Centres, but without controlling the numbers of puppies being bred, sold or imported, as quickly as the abandoned dogs are homed they are replaced with new ones. And who has the space to take these AFCD dogs in anyway?
The cycle is endless and breed snobbery, quite frankly, very saddening. That people would rather knowingly support a terrible trade in life, and buy a puppy from a breeding farm with known genetic defects rather than adopting a healthy mixed breed, is a terrible reflection of society values.
Thank goodness for those who see beyond the designer names and choose a dog or puppy based on its character and health rather than looks. In fact some of the most beautiful dogs I have ever seen have been the mixes, and their uniqueness makes them extra special. How ironic that people will spend so much money on clothes and other items that are not mass-produced, but will also pay such a high price for mass-produced and identical dogs.
Thank goodness too for the amazing staff and volunteers we have at HKDR, and for the dedication and hard work they put in to helping the dogs in our care. We always have an urgent need for more dog walkers, at Tai Po especially, although right now we have had to take a short break from new applications as so many people are away. We will start again very soon, with a few changes, one of them being the upping of the minimum age for volunteers from fourteen to sixteen years (apologies to all of those who have been waiting to turn fourteen so you can sign up).
We do, however, always need volunteers who can do admin, IT and other work-from-home stuff, but would ask that anyone offering their services can make a commitment for at least a year. If you would like to help with anything like this, pleas do email me at email@example.com with some details of your skills and experience.
There are also opportunities for paid work at HKDR right now, and anyone who has a real passion for what we do and can handle the emotional, as well as the hard, work, please let me know. Again we are particularly looking for full time staff at Tai Po, both on the administrative and manual side (cleaning and feeding), so please get in touch if you are interested.
We are also looking for extra support from our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre volunteers at this particular point, as the dogs that are coughing need lot of TLC (tender loving care) while they are recovering. Please do drop by when you can spare some time to lend a hand.