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The Pulse

Executive Producer: Diana Wan
Controlling Stray Dog Populations; Secondhand Markets; Dragon Dances

This may well be the Year of the Dragon, but is it going to be a better year for Hong Kong’s stray dog population? Many animal welfare workers are hoping so.

The SPCA has figures for the stray dog population going back more than 30 years. But between 2005 and 2010 alone, dog ownership in the SAR increased from about 200,000 dogs to about 250,000. Only half of that dog population has been desexed. And the reproductive rate is high.

Many are dumped. On average it takes a team of dog catchers four visits to capture a single stray. In Hong Kong, the Audit Commission reports that $34 million was spent on capturing, penning, and killing stray dogs and cats in the year 2009 to 2010. Since the beginning of January, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, together with the Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Animals has held several public consultation sessions on a “Trap, Neuter, Release” strategy, primarily for residents of Lamma Island, Yuen Long and Sai Kung.

Traditionally, you’re supposed to have a massive clean up before the Lunar New Year, leave your house spick and span. Given our limited living space in Hong Kong, that often means throwing away a lot of old household items.But is it inevitable that they should be consigned to the landfill? Increasingly people are selling and buying secondhand goods.

And we’re going to end our first show of the Year of the Dragon with, a Dragon. Given the emblematic animal of the year, Dragon Dances are more popular than ever, and they have a long tradition as well as two very distinctive types.