Police have charged the owner of a pet salon in the New Territories in connection to a series of stomach-turning videos that emerged showing salon employees beating the dogs they were meant to be grooming.
The suspect, 28-year-old Bui Lau-ying, was not required to enter a plea at Fanling Magistrates’ Court this afternoon, and the court decided to adjourn the case for May 18 pending further police investigation.
Apple Daily reports that Bui in the mean time was granted bail of HK$10,000 (US$1,300) in cash, but that she was not allowed to work at the salon, take part in any animal-related work, leave Hong Kong, or contact former customers or former or existing salon employees.*
Shortly after the woman’s arrest in Yuen Long on Saturday at around 4:25pm, police went to her salon at Chui Yi Street in Tai Po to investigate, seizing evidence including CCTV footage and a rattan stick, which appeared to feature in some of the videos.
Speaking to reporters outside the business, Chong Shing-yat, the assistant district commander of crime for Tai Po district said that the videos showed at least three dogs being beaten on different occasions.
Chong said that they were alerted to the case after someone called them in the early hours of the morning about the online videos. He said that while the videos show three cases of abuse, there could have been more, and urged anyone who had used the salon in recent months to come forward if they suspected their dogs had been mistreated.
According to i-Cable, the abuses in question took place at the salon late last year.
One video shows a female employee hitting a small white dog at least 20 times with her hands and a rattan stick. At various points during the video, which lasts less than two minutes, she’s seen throwing the dog against the table, violently whipping it back and forth by the tail, and seizing it by the neck.
A second video shows a female employee kicking and hitting a large brown dog while it’s tied to a leash before dragging it off by the collar, and a third shows an employee hitting a medium-sized brown dog at least 10 times on a grooming table with her hand and a rattan stick.
Since the arrest, Apple Daily published two more videos. One showed a female employee dragging what appears to be a border collie by the tail, throwing it against a stool, kicking it several times, and hitting it on the head. The second shows an employee manhandle a small white dog while she’s giving it a haircut.
Tai Po district councillor Wong Siu-kin posted on Facebook this afternoon that he has so far been contacted by around 30 dog owners who believe their dogs also sustained injuries at the salon. Wong shared photos of some of the suspected injuries, and said that he and his team would liaise with the dog owners on legal advice on claims against the salon.
According to Ming Pao, the pet salon in question, the Royal Dog House, posted on Facebook shortly after the owner’s arrest to confirm that the person filmed carrying out the abuse was an employee, not the owner, and that they had since been fired.
The salon’s Facebook page appears to have since been removed, and the salon has been shut since Sunday. Phone calls to the business went unanswered today.
NOTE: This article has been updated to include details of the suspect’s court appearance at Fanling Magistrates’ Court.
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