Hong Kong police have raided a suspected illegal dog breeder and found dozens of animals kept in abject conditions.
Thirty-six adult dogs kept as “breeding machines” were rescued, Ming Pao Daily reported Thursday.
The animals were held in tiny cages piled with inches of animal waste in a three-story building in Pat Heung village, Yuen Long district.
Some were suffering from skin infection and were in poor health, the report said.
Police arrested the tenant, a 41-year-old male surnamed Lam, for animal cruelty.
They were responding to a report of burglary from the man’s next-door neighbor.
Residents of Pat Heung village said Lam rented the building for HK$20,000 (US$2,580) a month but only occasionally showed up on the premises.
He often slept in his car outside the building, they were quoted as saying.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) took custody of 29 dogs. A government center is looking after the others.
SPCA said the Yuen Long find is only the tip of the iceberg, adding there is a growing number of illegal dog breeders in Hong Kong.
It urged the government to introduce a licensing system for breeders.
Mak Chi-ho, chairman of the Non-Profit Making Veterinary Service Society, said up to 90 percent of animals sold in local pet shops come from private breeding houses which are lucrative but unregulated.
A poodle could fetch up to HK$5,000 while a bulldog and other top breeds could get HK$10,000, he said.
Mak said a female dog gives birth twice a year but some have induced pregnancies through hormone injections.
Consumers should ask sellers for certificates of birth and import licenses before buying a pet to discourage animal cruelty, he said.
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