15 dog corpses found washed up on Hong Kong beaches over two days

Lamma Power Station Beach on Lamma Island. Photo via Flickr/Tom Page
Lamma Power Station Beach on Lamma Island. Photo via Flickr/Tom Page

15 dog corpses were found washed up on two beaches in Hong Kong yesterday and today, sparking concern among animal welfare groups that the dogs are part of dangerous and inhumane smuggling operations to mainland China.

On Thursday morning, Lamma Island residents alerted police after discovering two animal crates crammed with dog carcasses on Lamma Power Station beach. Officers found 12 corpses in two locked cages and have classified the incident as a case of animal cruelty, police confirmed.

Yesterday around noon, a construction worker was taking a stroll on a beach in Stanley when he noticed an animal crate with three dog carcasses that were soaked and swollen from decomposition.

Yesterday a crate with dogs inside washed ashore in Stanley, decomposing bodies inside. This morning, on lamma island,…

Posted by Sheila McClelland on Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Sheila McClelland, founder of Lifelong Animal Protection Charity, shared the incidents on her Facebook page on Thursday morning.

“From an animal welfare perspective, it’s horrific,” McClelland told Coconuts Hong Kong.

“The dogs in Lamma Island looked fairly fresh, and the ones in Stanley looked much more decomposed. It sort of suggests to me that there’s an awful lot of them. It’s ongoing,” she added.

She said it is highly likely that the pet owners who paid for the smuggling services have been kept in the dark about the cold-blooded way their dogs are being transported. “I think it’s impossible that they know. If they knew, they wouldn’t do it for sure.”

Read more: Woman in viral dog-on-dog attack video arrested for animal abuse

Last week, authorities stopped two speedboats off Lantau Island during an anti-smuggling operation. Among items including electronics and dried abalone, they also discovered four animal cages that were stuffed with a dozen dogs, including poodles, Labradors and Pomeranians.

All of the dogs were microchipped. Custom agents suggested that the pets have Hong Kong owners that have moved to mainland China due to the COVID-19 epidemic, and were being smuggled up north to be reunited with their owners.

Danny Cheung, Divisional Commander of the customs department’s Marine Investigation Unit, appealed to pet owners to use “normal channels” to transport their animals, and not to risk their pet’s health or mental well-being.

Based on the incident last week, it is speculated that the corpses found on the beach were dogs en route for mainland China that were deliberately or accidentally left to drown by their smugglers.

“Presumably, a lot of them are successfully arriving in China. And the unlucky ones that either get thrown overboard because they don’t want to be caught with them, or they’re swept aboard,” McClelland said.

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