Hong Kong: Pets Wait For Owners As They’re Abandoned Due To Strict Covid Rules

Recent weeks have been hectic for Sit and her colleagues, with government data showing more than 100,000 people have left the Hong Kong this year. While most of the world is learning to live with Covid-19, its residents have been increasingly frustrated with the city’s zero-tolerance policy read a report by Jessie Pang and Sara Cheng.

“We have definitely seen an increase in the number of dog owners abandoning their dogs because they are moving out of Hong Kong” Eva Sit, from a dog rescue, said. Cassius and Roxy, two pets, were brought to the shelter on March 3 by a domestic helper whose employers flew home to Britain a while back and later decided not to return to Hong Kong.

There are no official figures on how many pets are being abandoned. (Photo: Reuters)

Sit, while talking to Reuters reporters, said that there usually are 10 abandoned dogs a month on average, compared with five before Covid-19. The shelter now is running out of space.

The report quotes Claire McLennan, 48, an Australian who moved back home in December for family reasons, who has has been trying to fly her mongrel back.

Reportedly, she’s been planning the logistics of the move for more than a year. “She’s a member of our family… And so this dog, we will fight to the end of the earth to get her here”, McLennan was quoted saying.

There are no official figures on how many pets are being abandoned. The number of government-issued animal health certificates, a document needed for pets to travel but not always given out for that reason, surged to almost 9,000 in 2021 from about 3,700 in 2020. About 1,500 such certificates have already been issued in the first two months of this year, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said.

The department did not comment on what may have caused the spike.

Hong Kong has a net outflow of around 40,000 people so far in March, compared with more than 71,000 in February, the most in a month since the beginning of the pandemic, government data show. It is not known how many intend to return.

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