Weds 30th May: Honey
The big story of the day was undoubtedly that of Honey, as reported in the Apple Daily (and thanks to this newspaper for being hot on the tail of any animal abuse case).
I received many emails about Honey and Facebook was buzzing with updates and comments and for good reason. Read this English version of the story first:
“Healthy narcotics detecting dog euthanized after being abandoned by school.
a 3-year-old labrador retriever named “honey” was introduced to lingnan secondary school in hk about 2 years ago. she was the first and only narcotics detecting dog in hong kong. after serving diligently at the school for 2 years, the board committee concluded that she was of “no use” and therefore, expelled her from the school yard. being abandoned and no one to take care of. healthy honey was humanely put down.
the counsellor at lingnan secondary school, chong hung ming [55 years old] , a retired police officer, has been working at the school for 7 years, in year 2009, he proposed to the school to introduce a narcotics detecting dog to help promote the anti-narcotics program in the school. at his own expense, he travelled to texas, usa, to attend a course on training narcotics detecting dogs and brought back to hk, honey – the trained labrador retriever.
honey was trained to sniff out drugs ie. marijuana, ketamine, ice. she was also able to detect cigarettes, cell phones and video games. aside from being responsible to detect narcotics in the school area when school was finished, she was also lingnan’s guard dog.
principal, law chan fei commented that honey was the property of chong’s who was responsible for all the daily expenses of the dog. chong shared the staff dorm with honey whom had cost chong a total of HK$200,000. in the two years, honey has also participated in the school’s drama events and won a lot of hearts within the school by her sweet nature.
in the beginning of this year, there was a review on the anti-narcotics promotion within the school committee. chong stated that honey had only detected two times of cigarettes. the teachers who have a fear of dogs commented the result was not very dramatic and suggested honey should be brought out of the school property. a survey was conducted and 90% of the students strongly urged honey to be kept in lingnan and not be expelled. despite the strong voice, honey could not escape the sad fate of being thrown out. chong said the school had helped to find another school which could house honey but failed. no longer able to take care of honey, chong asked his friend last saturday to “settle” honey. a few days ago, he was notified that honey had been euthanized.
lau kam ho, the head of the professional canine trainer association was outraged and condemned such act as “nonsense!” he pointed out that working dogs have a very outgoing and sweet nature and totally harmless. even if one was transferred to live with a normal family, it would easily fit in with the family and with other animals. besides, since honey was the one and only narcotics detecting dog in the city, the school or responsible party could have very well considered giving honey to the police force. “there are millions of ways to settle this! euthanizing the animal was totally pointless!”
SPCA also said after judging the physical and mental condition of an animal, if one is healthy and balanced, can be instantly put up for adoption and will not have an “expiry date”.”
I bet you’re fuming too, as was everyone who read this story of ignorance, arrogance and stupidity. Fortunately the reports of Honey having already been killed were premature, and a subsequent(Apple Daily) video article showed Honey alive and well, but for me that’s not the full point. Of course I’m delighted that Honey’s life wasn’t ended for no reason other than she was not longer wanted (same old story) but I think there are questions to be asked as to why this happened in the first place. Hong Kong isn’t some hardcore guns-and-drugs city, at least not in most areas, and all that Honey found in her two years were a few illicit cigarettes. If adults (in this case some teachers) are afraid of a friendly labrador then all I can say is I feel sorry for them. My concern now is about Honey’s future and where this friend of Chong’s is and whether he can give any dog a decent life.
Honey’s story is unfortunately not an isolated incident except for the fact that she’s a trained sniffer dog and was imported from the USA specifically for the job. Every day dogs are thrown out of their homes for no good reason, the only crime they have committed is being there and having four legs and a tail. They’re not lucky enough to be labradors and to get their story in Apple Daily, at least not unless something terrible has happened to them making them newsworthy. While reports of the instant dog-flavoured noodle factory in China (yes it’s true) say many thousands of dogs are cruelly slaughtered specifically for this junk food, so are many thousands of dogs and puppies destroyed by the Hong Kong Government every year just because they’re excess baggage. I see only a small percentage of these dogs and that’s bad enough. They have done nothing wrong, have hurt nobody, but just like Honey they are treated like rubbish.
Although it would be unfair to say that puppy Aria was treated quite so callously, that she was incorrectly assessed by a behaviourist and subsequently returned is pretty much up there. She was very easy and sweet as a young puppy and is still just as loving an affectionate now. She always preferred the company of humans to the other puppies and still does, and today (my day off) I found her in the bath where she had found herself a nice quiet spot away from the others for a snooze. She’ll be at Whiskers’n'Paws on Sunday looking for her second chance, along with many other young puppies also hoping to be the lucky ones. Please come along to meet them from 2pm to 5pm, 10/F Horizon Plaza, Ap Lei Chau. I’m there every Sunday afternoon and there are always new puppies as well as the older regulars.