August 07, 2005

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Mouse and dog

Even before wild, scavenging hordes of tourists descend on Hong Kong Disneyland, the Mouse Kingdom faces a more sinister threat. Simon Parry recycles his story from July 25th in today's SCMP:

Packs of wild dogs are scavenging for food in and around the Disney theme park, sparking management fears they could threaten guests and staff. Despite Disney having called in dog catchers to round up and cull about 40 strays inside the park over the past two months, the site is being plagued by hundreds of wild dogs that emerge from the hillsides after dark.
It is clear this is part of Disney's culturally sensitive cuisine policy to capture the Korean tourist market.

Part of the ongoing Hong Kong Disneyland series.

Simon Parry's original SCMP article on July 25th:

Dozens of stray dogs adopted by construction workers on the Disney theme park site have been rounded up and killed in the run-up to the park's opening in September. Forty-five dogs, some believed to have been used as unofficial guard dogs on the site during construction, have been caught by government dog catchers at Disney's request. About 40 are thought to have been given injections within days of arriving at government kennels; only three or four have been found a home by an animal welfare group. Two puppies are still seeking homes.

Hong Kong Dog Rescue says Disney did not contact the group before having the dogs rounded up, adding more could possibly have been saved if Disney had done so. Disney last night denied the strays had ever been officially used as guard dogs and said it had called in dog catchers because the animals were roaming in packs and posing a threat to staff on site.

Sally Andersen, founder of Hong Kong Dog Rescue, which has tried to rehome the strays, said the dogs from the Penny's Bay site had turned up at the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department kennels in Pokfulam "at an alarming rate" in recent months. Nearly all were unlicensed and had not been neutered or fitted with microchips by owners. They had been put to sleep within four days of arriving. "These dogs are friendly and healthy, as they have been fed and cared for by the site workers, but as building work is completed the dogs are simply abandoned and end up in the government kennels, where they are destroyed," she said.

"A company like Disney surely has some sort of moral obligation to take care of the dogs that have been used on their site as guard dogs. It's disgraceful that these dogs are simply thrown away like garbage." Fiona Woodhouse, deputy director of animal welfare for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), said she was not aware of any contact from Disney, but did not rule out that the company had phoned for advice. "We couldn't have taken 50 adult mongrels and guaranteed to find them homes. What we could have done is advertise them and try to find them homes," she said.

"I don't think you can attach blame to Disney, but it would be nice to think they would follow their principles in terms of environmental concern and being ... very friendly towards animals, which feature so much in their cartoons," she said. Disney said it had contacted the SPCA when the dogs were being rounded up but had been told it was not possible to rehome so many. The SPCA had repeatedly had problems with dogs abandoned on construction sites, Ms Woodhouse said. Contractors involved always denied responsibility for the dogs and often refused SPCA workers access to try to capture strays, she said.

posted by Simon on 08.07.05 at 09:42 AM in the Hong Kong Disneyland category.


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