Nov 2018. Republished Oct '19
Back home in England, Kirsten Mitchell grew up watching her mother always carrying a shopping basket with dog and cat food, making sure no strays she came upon, ever went hungry. When Kirsten moved to Hong Kong the sorry plight of cats and dogs in the poorly managed and unhygienic ‘prison-like’ animal shelters in the city, made her set out on a mission to ensure, that every abandoned cat and dog in the city, found a loving and comfortable home.
Kirsten was a school teacher but her busy schedule did not prevent her from starting-off this initiative 18 years ago, to ensure the welfare of abandoned animals. Finally, in 2008, Kirsten’s Zoo Limited became a non-profit, volunteer run animal rescue organisation （Charity reg. no 91/12599） that provides safe shelter and medical care to abandoned, surrendered, neglected and often abused animals. The animals are taken in, spayed/neutered and provided with all the necessary medical care. They are then placed in foster homes until they are adopted. As Kirsten says,” if one truly has their heart in something, they always find a way to make things happen.”
6 week old Chinese mixed breed dog from Magazine Gap Road with little boy Tas
She has funded most of her endeavours out of her own pocket and with the kind assistance of friends and like minded people. Kirsten shares many a story of the large-heartedness of animal lovers, like the couple that fostered many cats during their stay in Hong Kong or the lady who in finding a retirement home for her cat became a dedicated volunteer. Often, families end up adopting the animal they are fostering.
But in a transient city like Hong Kong, pets are being abandoned every other day. These animals can only find another home if there is greater involvement from the animal lovers in the city. The organization holds monthly cat and dog adoption events where one can take a loving pet home. Adoption cost for a dog is HK$2500 and HK$1500 for a cat, money that just about covers the cost of the medical expenses for neutering and vaccinating the animal. Additionally, Kirsten also provides guidance and training lessons for pet owners.
https://www.kirstenszoo.com/; Regular monthly adoptions for dogs is held at The Peak Café and for cats at Pawtners in Sai Yin Pun and 1 puppy class also at Pawters. Donations welcome. (Check dates on the website)
Leni, Evania and Bastien with 2.5 year old well behaved dog Martin up for fostering as his owners were in a tragic car accident.
Four puppies from the same litter who lost their mother dog on Magazine Gap Road
From volunteering regularly to help with the animals to sponsoring the medical and dietary needs of the animals, to providing a foster home for the animals, the Localhood community can be involved in more than one way in providing support to them. Please visit the Kirsten’s zoo website for more details on ways in which you and your family can be involved with this wonderful initiative.