A service dog refers to a dog which provides aids to humans in many fields. Service dogs are usually strong and smart with extremely high loyalty. There are currently 6 government departments that have service dogs, they include the Fire Services Department, Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, Customs and Excise Department, Correctional Services Department and Hong Kong Police. According to the statistics provided by the Government in 2019, there were 350 service dogs. These dogs serve Hong Kong for most of their lives. It is a shame that the Government neglects their lives after retirement. The World Dog Alliance (WDA) has been working with Legislator Gary Chan Hak-kan to call for the welfare of retired service dogs. With relentless effort, the Government finally takes concrete actions.
During a meeting of the Animal Welfare Group of the Legislative Council, Gary Chan asked if the Government provided subsidies to the owners of retired service dogs for medical expenses.
Dr. Thomas Sit, Assistant Director of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation (Inspection and Quarantine) responded that the Government had instructed relevant departments to provide medical consultation to retired service dogs. Whilst the fees are still in discussion, Dr. Sit noted that the Government was looking into providing aids to retired service dogs which required surgeries.
This is a welcome move from the Government. Service dogs service the city loyally. The Government is responsible for their retirement. WDA believes that most Hong Kong citizens are keen to secure a better retirement for service dogs with public spendings.