Pets in Hong Kong
Planning a move to Hong Kong any time soon? Can’t bear to leave the furry or feathered member of your family behind? You will be relieved to know that Hong Kong permits the import of pets from most countries. However, in some instances there are requirements for a quarantine period before the pet can be admitted into Hong Kong.
Bringing your pets into Hong Kong
Before you rush off to book an air passage for Fido, there are a few formalities you need to complete. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department of Hong Kong, regulates the import of pets into Hong Kong. You need to apply for a special permit in advance if you are desirous of bringing your pets along. This special permit has a validity of six months, and the department advises applying well in advance in case your pet needs to meet vaccination requirements.
The current fee for the import permit of a single creature is HKD 344 (birds, reptiles, rodents, and rabbits) and HKD 432 for cats and dogs. Each additional animal incurs a charge of 102 HKD. These fees need to be paid at the time of application. The application can be made in person or by post. The issue of such a permit takes five working days. Details and forms are available at the website of the AFCD.
Aside from the special permit, you also need to supply certain othervitaldocuments while importing your cats or dogs into Hong Kong.
You need to provide an animal health certificate issued by a government-registered vet in your home country. This certificate must be dated no more than 14 days before your departure date. Your pet will also receive a microchip implantat this time. Information about the microchip must be included on the certificate.
In addition to the animal health certificate, you need to provide a residence certificate certifying that your pet has been continuously resident in your home country for more than 180 days before your departure date.
Vaccination and air travel certificates
The list of essential documents also includes a vaccination certificate stating that your animal’s up- to- date vaccination recordsand an air travel certificate. The air travel certificate must state that your animal has traveled to Hong Kong directly without any stops/transfers en-route. If a transfer or change in the mode of transport is involved in the journey to Hong Kong, a special transshipment permit also needs to be supplied. A registered vet must attest the residency and vaccination certificates while the transporting air carrier issues the air travel certificate. All the above documents need to be submitted in Chinese or English.
Hong Kong requires a four-month quarantine period for pets hailing from certain countries. The SAR uses a three-group classification of countriesto determine its quarantine norms.
Pets belonging to residents of countries classified as Group 1, i.e., UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Japan and Hawaii can be brought in right away. However, new requirements instituted in 2013, state that pets hailing from Group 1 countries need to have had their annual vaccinations at least 14 days before they travel.
Residents of 39 countries including Canada, Germany, France, Spain, USA (continental) and others can also bring their pets into Hong Kong. Residents from these countries in addition to the above-listed essential documents also need supply an anti-rabies certificate. This certificate should certify that the animal has been vaccinated against rabies at least thirty days before departure. The residence certificate of the animal should also affirm that there have been no rabies cases in the destination of origin within the last 180 days. Further, you need to notify the AFCD duty officer of your arrival at least two days in advance. You can contact this office on +852 2182 1001. You can then go on to collect your animals at the cargo terminal at the HKIA by supplying the relevant documents.
If you are relocating to Hong Kong from a country, which does not belong to either group, your pets will have to be in quarantine for a minimum of four months. Animals have to spend their quarantine period at one of the two quarantine kennels belonging to the government-sponsored Animal Management Centres in Hong Kong. If your pet needs to go into quarantine in Hong Kong, it is advisable to book a place for your pet at least three month before your arrival in Hong Kong.
Service animals (disability assistance dogs) hailing from all countries are exempt from the 180-day residency as well as quarantine rules. Disability assistance dogs however need to be tested and vaccinated against rabies.
Restrictions on the import of pets
You cannot import a pregnant animal into Hong Kong. The import of puppies and kittens is also disallowed. Certain breeds of dogs such as Pit Bull terriers, DogoArgentino, Japanese Tosa and Fila Brazilero and their cross breeds also face import bans in Hong Kong.
Import of Birds and Reptiles
The import of birds is strictly regulated in Hong Kong. Due the continuing prevalence of bird flu the import of birds from certain countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, India and South Africa is disallowed. Birds from other countries need to have a health certificate (attested by a registered vet) that is dated not more than five days before the departure date. Similar rules govern the import of reptiles and rodents, but in this case the accompanying certificate cannot be more than 14 days old. For more details on the import of specific species of reptiles do consult t he website of the AFCD.
Once your family in Hong Kong is complete with the arrival of your pet, you will need to find a vet. The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals runs wellness clinics for animals and also offers veterinary services. More information about veterinary services is also available on the website of the Hong Kong Veterinary Association.
Pet Adoption in Hong Kong
Pet ownership is becoming increasingly popular in Hong Kong. However, abandonment of pets is also, unfortunately, rife so if you currently don’t share your home with a loving pet, you may want to consider adopting one which has been abandoned is already present in Hong Kong. Organizations like the SPCA, the pet store Whiskers and Paws and other government recognized bodies offer pet adoptions in Hong Kong.
The AFCD figures indicate that the Hong Kong’s pet population has been growing very rapidly over the past decade. Figures indicate that the growth has been as much as 300%. As a result, the demand for the provision of allied services like pet sitting and boarding facilities, dog walking and grooming services has also been growing. Busy pet owners in Hong Kong want to be assured their beloved furry friends are looked after while they are away from Hong Kong on vacation or for business.
Staff expertise and training, comfort and hygiene are some of the important considerations involved in the choice of a boarding facility for a pet. Rather than avail of unlicensed facilities, most pet owners elect to use organizations that are recognized and inspected by the AFCD.
Some popular pet boarding services in Hong Kong include:
The Grand Dogaroo Pet Hotel
This fancy boutique hotel-like boarding facility occupies an area of 8000 square feet on Waterloo Road and features amenities like a heated doggie swimming pool, a café for dogs, a playground and a training and grooming center.
Ferndale Kennels and Cattery
Located near the lush environs of Sai Kung Country Park, Ferndale Kennels and Cattery offers 33 outdoor kennels and thirty luxe air-conditioned condo accommodations for felines.
DB Dog Dayz
Also located near Sai Kung Country Park, DB Dog Dayz haskennel-free boarding facilities for dogs. Guest canines also get exercise in the form of long walks in Sai Kung Country Park.
Royal Pets offers dog and cat sitting and dog walking and boarding facilities using a network of foster carers located all over Hong Kong.
Pet World Resort
Located in the Yuen Long area of the New Territories, the Pet World Resorthas a menu of recreational and therapeutic activities and provides boarding facilities for canines.
Love Cat Sitter
Love Cat Sitter is a cat sitting service wherein a cat sitter takes care of your pets within your home. Cats, unlike dogs, are more comfortable in a known environment, so the sitter moves into your home to provide services like feeding, grooming, changing of cat litter along with cuddles and play. The company provides a free home visit and charges by the hour. The owners of the Love Cat Sitter are experienced cat lovers who have no qualms about the installation of webcams by owners who want to check on the care of their pets. The company offers both Chinese as well as English-speaking services.
Pet owners also use other sources such as Trustedhousesiters.com and the SPCA’s boarding facilities to accommodate their beloved pets when they are away from Hong Kong.