The Force has set up Animal Crime Police Teams in 22 Police districts to professionally investigate animal cruelty cases. Between 2014 and 2018, the average number of cruelty to animals cases the Force has received is around 80, with figures reaching the peak in 2018 (i.e. 105 cases). With the Force’s persistent efforts under the multi-agency approach, dedication of the designated investigation teams and related publicity and education campaigns, the figures have retreated to around 60 in the recent two years.
In 2019, the Force received 60 cruelty to animals cases with 33 cases detected and 36 persons arrested.
In 2020, the Force received 70 cruelty to animals cases with 39 cases detected and 50 persons arrested.
However, most of the time, animal cruelty cases occur without the presence of eye witnesses, which increased the difficulties in investigation. Therefore, the provision of useful information from the public is pivotal in assisting the investigation of animal cruelty cases. Apart from the professional investigation by designated teams, members of the public may watch out the following aspects in order to assist the Force in combatting acts of cruelty to animals:
In April 2020, a photo of suspected ill-treatment against a dog in the garden of a house in Yuen Long went viral on the Internet. Subsequently, an informant personally attended the scene and performed very close and careful observation of the situation. Apart from confirming that the dog has injuries on its ears, the informant also noticed the extremely poor living environment of the dog. Upon consulting veterinary opinion, a report was made to the Police.
Upon investigation by the designated team, the Police found that the dog owner had failed to provide sufficient food and water to the dog. Eventually, the dog owner was charged with “Cruelty to Animals” and sentenced to 160-hour community service order.
In November 2019, a Cheung Chau resident discovered that her neighbour was trying to feed sausages with pills to her dog. She immediately stopped the neighbour and reported the case to the Police.
Upon investigation by the designated team, it was discovered that the culprit committed the crime as he was dissatisfied with the barking of the dog. Although the culprit defended in court that he only wished to calm the dog down without any intention to harm it, the Magistrate considered that the feeding of 6 capsules of painkillers for human use at a time was obviously an intention to cause unnecessary harm to the dog. Eventually, the culprit was found guilty of “Attempted Cruelty to Animal” and sentenced to 4-week imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.
In October 2017, a security guard of Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital discovered that several turtles were found dead in the pond with pencils piercing through their bodies. Case was reported to the Police.
Upon taking over the investigation, the designated team followed closely on the leads disclosed by the exhibits left at the scene, including the pencils involved and the packaging of the bread which were used to feed the turtles. Eventually, the culprit was identified, charged with “Cruelty to Animals” and sentenced to 3-month imprisonment.
In January 2020, several video clips of cruel treatments against dogs in a pet grooming shop in Tai Po went viral on the Internet. In the clips, the offender repeatedly kicks and beats the dogs with rattan stick and the incident has aroused wide public concerns.
Upon taking over the investigation, the designated team made rounds of public appeals for information which led to owners of the victimised dogs and other key witnesses coming forward to provide information and give statements. Eventually, the owner of the pet grooming shop was charged with “Cruelty to Animals” and sentenced to 8-month imprisonment.