There has been a huge surge in pet abandonments in the city of Hong Kong as they face one of their worst exoduses. The drop in population can be blamed on strict COVID control measures and political crackdowns. The city’s population has fallen from 7.41 million to 7.29 million, according to the Census and Statistics Department. Unfortunately, this means that many pets have been left behind.
Animals are being brought to shelters like Hong Kong Dog Rescue (HKDR) as their humans relocate and can not take them with them.
“We are always full house,” Eva Sit, communications director at HKDR, told AFP.
“We find it very difficult to say no to surrender requests because we feel very bad for the dogs.”
When giving up their pets, their humans need to fill out a form that includes the reason why. Emigration used to make up about two in every 10 cases, but now, it’s more like eight out of ten, according to Sit.
Normally, most residents that leave would take their pets with them. However, due to the self-imposed pandemic isolation rules, many airlines are avoiding Hong Kong in general. France 24 reported that in July, only 401,000 passengers went through the airport, which is six percent of the pre-pandemic numbers.
The shortage of commercial flights means less space for pets, making it expensive and sometimes impossible to bring their animals. Wealthy residents have even been renting private planes to get their animals out.
Narelle Pamuk, the founder of Sai Kung Stray Friends (SKSF), said that these pet owners are not bad people, but they are often left with no choice.
“They say people are bad when they leave their animals, but I have to say, not everybody is bad,” she told AFP, saying that many can’t find a flight or afford one.
According to national estimates, approximately 6.3 million companion animals are abandoned and enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. In the U.S. alone, over 5.4 million cats are killed on the side of the road. If you happen to notice a cat or dog on the side of the road, whether or not the animal is injured, safely put on the hazard lights and pull your car completely off the road before attempting to rescue them, says the Humane Society.
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