It was just a chance that took Sally Andersen to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) kennel, where stray dogs could have a temporary shelter.
Like most of us, Sally had no idea it even existed. And like most of us, Sally did not know that the dogs would end up being destroyed if they can’t find new homes within 4 days.
“I wanted to help them,” said Sally.
In 2002, Sally founded Hong Kong Dog Rescue (HKDR) and began to take dogs out of the government kennel.
Today, what started out as a one-person mission has re-homed about 7,000 dogs and saved more from the death sentence.
Based on the strict “No-kill” policy, the dogs are permanently housed in HKDR’s own kennel if not re-homed.
The organization also makes sure the right dogs go to the right homes.
“We ask people to fill out questionnaires before we match them up,” said Sally. “Of course we have turned down a lot of people because not all homes are suitable.”
“It’s a volunteer based organization, and I’m a volunteer still,” said Sally, “I don’t take salaries or anything.” HKDR finances itself mostly by donations, fundraising events, and selling products like books and T-shirts.
However, despite the selfless efforts from all the volunteers, the issue of stray dogs is still out there.
According to the government report, approximately HK$30 million a year is spent on catching about 12,000 to 13,000 strays and putting down nearly 90 per cent of them.
Many of the dogs abandoned were unwanted puppies or had bad behaviors as a consequence of their owners’ inadequate training.
“We have had them physically in the bad condition and we have had them psychologically in the bad way,” said Sally.
“So we rehabilitate them whichever it’s physical or behavioral.”
According to Sally, what the dog keepers should do is to de-sex their dogs and to understand the dogs for proper treatment.