Frequently asked questions
1. What Does TAILS stand for?
Team for Animals In Lantau South
2. Who runs TAILS?
TAILS is run by a group of volunteers who are concerned about the wellbeing of animals. Most of us have full-time jobs and help animals in our spare time. Please bear with us if we cannot answer your request immediately. We endeavor to get back to you as soon as possible.
Meet our team here.
If you are interested in joining the team, we always welcome new volunteers. Please fill in a form here and we will connect with you when we have a suitable role available.
4. What are our principles?
Hong Kong is a complex cultural environment, with a diverse range of backgrounds and historical beliefs making up the community.
Working in this environment can therefore give rise to different cultural beliefs and practices. While TAILS will always strive to respect these differences, the underlying principal it has adopted is to always choose to do what we believe is best for each individual animal.
The right answer for each animal could look quite different and we take into consideration various factors of each unique circumstance. However, we will always strictly adhere to the above principle.
3. Where is TAILS located?
We are based in South Lantau and primarily focus on animals in need on Lantau Island. However, we may accept animals from other places in Hong Kong if we have space and resources available.
5. What animals do you rehome?
We focus on dogs and cats. The number varies on a regular basis but we currently accept up to a maximum of 30 animals, given our limited resources. If you would like to help us help more animals, we are always looking to extend our foster and adopter network. Please fill in a foster or adoption form. If you cannot look after one of our animals at this time, please consider helping us out with some financial support by making a donation.
6. Where are your dogs and cats? Can I visit them?
We primarily rely on a foster system, which means we currently have no physical shelter premises. Our animals are in foster around Hong Kong. We have found that keeping rescue animals in a family environment benefits them while they wait for their forever homes. In the event that we cannot find a foster, but still come across an animal in need, we make use of short-term kennel facilities until we can find a foster family.
If there is a specific animal you want to meet, we can arrange a visit at the current foster family, but if you would like to meet and interact with several of our animals to find your best fit, we encourage you to come to one of our adoption days. In addition, you can also follow our social media accounts (FB: TAILS Lantau, IG: tails.lantau) to see up-to-date photos of the animals up for adoption.
7. Who can adopt?
Anyone who is 21 and over, provided they are able to provide a safe, stable home, with a lot of attention and love for the animal. When you adopt an animal, you are making a commitment to give them a home for the rest of their life. If you are willing to do this and can ensure that the animal is not left on its own for long periods of time on a regular basis, get in touch. We take great care to match the right family with the right animal, taking into consideration the animal's personality, temperament, age, background, and more...
8. What is the adoption process?
Our primary aim in the adoption process is to find the best match between you and one of our animals. The first step in this process is our Adoption Questionnaire. This will help us understand more about your home environment, lifestyle and expectations you may have about the animal you wish to adopt. Like people, animals have their own individual personalities and traits.
After reviewing your questionnaire, we may arrange an Adoption Interview with you. In this time, if there are any questions arising from your questionnaire, we will speak with you about these directly. This is also a great time for you to ask any questions you may have. We encourage the whole family to come along to participate in the interview, as any new addition will affect each family member.
Following a successful adoption interview the next step is to arrange for a meet and greet. Depending on availability, this may take place directly with the foster family currently taking care of the animal or at one of our adoption days.
Every animal may need a few days to adjust to their new environment and family. We encourage adopters to be patient and give the animal some time to get comfortable and settle in. We allow a maximum two-week trial adoption period, before you make your final adoption decision.
Please note: Animals are not rehomed on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis and not all adoption applications will be successful. We endeavor to find the right match that will be in the best interest of both the animal and the family.
9. Do you rehome animals to homes with children?
Yes - Our TAILS Rehoming Team will review your questionnaire and make suggestions based on the information you have provided. We will also ensure that any children in your family are aware of the correct way to approach and handle the animal so both humans and animals are comfortable.
10. My child needs to take more responsibility. Will adopting an animal help teach them this?
The caring for an animal can be beneficial for all those involved including children who have an involvement in the process. It is however important to remember the commitment to adopt an animal is a long-term arrangement. It may not always be reasonable to assume your child will take care of the animal over this extended period. Therefore, as parents you also need to ensure the wellbeing of the animal and be prepared to take responsibility for its care.
At TAILS, we believe the best arrangement is where the entire family, including children are actively involved the care of our adopted animals.
11. If there is a lot of interest in one animal, how do you decide what the best match is?
We will match the animal with the family we feel will best suit the animal’s needs. This decision takes various factors into consideration, including family lifestyle, experience with animals, and home environment as well as the animal’s personality, temperament and known likes/dislikes.
Please note: We do give priority to foster families who have been caring for the animal, if they express desire to transform foster status to a finalized adoption. In these circumstances we have had the opportunity to see first-hand how the family and animal interact and bond together.
12. What is fostering?
Fostering is when a family commits to taking an animal into their home for a minimum of two weeks with the intent of helping the animal to become familiar and secure in a home environment. As we do not have our own kennel premises, fostering makes the smooth operation of TAILS possible and allows us to help more animals.
13. Who can foster?
The fostering criteria are similar to adoption criteria, but all fosters are required to commit to fostering for a minimum of two weeks, to bringing the animals to the next adoption day, to bringing the animals to the vet for their next vaccinations or de-sexing surgery, if necessary, and to meeting with potential adopters between adoption days, if required.
We will provide a collar and lead, toys and bowls for the animal but would ask all fosters to provide food for the animal at this time, if possible.
Fostering is a wonderful way to get involved with TAILS if you are unable to commit to being a long-term pet-owner. We are hugely reliant on our foster network and could not get by without them. Please get in touch if you are interested in being a foster for us and fill out the foster form.
14. Can I fill out the adoption questionnaire online?
Yes - Please fill in a form here.
15. I have filled in an adoption form. What has no one contacted me yet?
Please be patient – we are all volunteers who have full time jobs. It may be that we are a bit behind at the moment or it may be that we have no suitable animals for you at this time. If you have not heard from us in 5 working days, please drop us an email and we will get back to you quickly.
16. Can you provide a full history of the animal I am interested in?
We will do our best to provide the full history of an animal to their adopter but in many cases, we may only have a partial or limited history. We will disclose all information that we know about the animal, especially if it is relevant to your particular circumstance.
17. Can I be turned down for adoption?
Yes – There will be times when the animals available for adoption will not be a best fit for your circumstances.
It is important to recognize that this is not personal and the primary goal is to find for the animals a lifelong home that suits both them and their adopters. Placing an animal in an environment that is not suited to them often leads to the animal being returned at a later date along with the possibility of behavioural problems that make it very difficult to rehome again, depriving the animal of a chance to find a lifelong home.
If we feel that you are not a good match for any of our animals at this point in time, then we will discuss our reasons with you.
Please note: We will only rehome unneutered puppies and kittens to homes who make a commitment to having the animal neutered at the appropriate age.
18. What if I don’t want to get my pet neutered?
Unfortunately, we will not be able to rehome an animal with you. We require all of our animals to be de-sexed when the animal comes of age. De-sexing has several health and behavioural advantages for cats and dogs, and importantly, reduces the number of unwanted kittens and puppies. This reduces suffering. We would rather have our animals de-sexed than see tens of thousands of unwanted puppies/kittens abandoned, tortured, injured or euthanized every year. For more information on the benefits of de-sexing, please click here.
19. How much does it cost to adopt an animal from TAILS?
The adoption fee is HK $1,500 per dog or cat.
This includes the following:
Basic vaccinations for the first year (typically one initial dose, two booster vaccinations, valid for one year)
Rabies Vaccination (valid for 3 years)
Deworming medication (typically one to three doses)
Heartworm test and medication (typically first 6 months) dogs only
Flea and tick treatment (typically one to three doses; Frontline or Revolution)
Microchip or License Transfer
De-sexing Surgery (if not already de-sexed), including aftercare medication
Cat Flu Treatment cats only
20. The adoption fee seems expensive… why?
Our Adoption Fee allows us to provide for the wellbeing of the animal and includes the various vaccinations, medications and consultations required for the animal. We are mindful of keeping our Adoption Fee as low as possible and it is currently mid-range when compared to other animal welfare groups in Hong Kong. Thanks to the support of the SPCA we are able to offer an Adoption Fee that is lower than the cost these services would normally be if arranged privately.
21. I already have a dog/cat… Can I still adopt another animal?
Yes - The TAILS Rehoming Team will work with you to choose an animal that will fit in with your existing pet. We strongly recommend a trial adoption in cases like this so you can ensure your resident pet will accept the newcomer. Please fill out our online adoption questionnaire here and our adoption coordinator will be in touch!
22. Can I reserve an animal over the phone/online?
No - If you have filled in the Adoption Questionnaire, you can speak with us directly about your interest in a specific animal. We will do our best to arrange a chance for you to meet. However, if there is a lot of interest in a specific animal, we cannot hold it indefinitely for you. Ultimately, the animal will be placed in the most suitable home.
23. Can I request a specific breed?
You can, but please be aware that there are no guarantees that we will get the specific breed you want. We do not breed animals or source breeds on request. The majority of our animals will be mixed breeds.
24. I’ve just adopted a dog and he/she isn’t settling – is this normal?
Absolutely. All dogs need at least a week to begin settling in which is why we always recommend a trial adoption if you aren’t sure. Remember, the dog doesn’t know you or their new environment and has no idea what to expect. You can help your new family member settle in faster by:
Making sure they have a safe place to retreat to where no one will bother them
Being patient if they have accidents in the house at first - many dogs can’t control the urge to go to the bathroom when they’re scared or unsure.
Rewarding good behaviour with treats and kind words
Being aware that some dogs will adjust faster than others and different dogs will show different behaviours
A puppy will be more likely to chew things if left unsupervised than an older dog
An older dog may already have habits you will need to understand
Don’t let your new dog off lead until you are confident it will come back to you when called
Try to put yourself in the dog’s head and think how you would feel coming into an unfamiliar environment. This will make it easier for you to help your new dog feel comfortable. Above all, just give the dog time to adjust and get to know you. We are always here to help as you get to know your new family member.
25. When are your adoption days?
Our adoption days are usually Saturdays, 3-6pm, in front of China Bear, Mui Wo. However, we may have other fun events at which you can meet our puppies. Like and follow our FaceBook & Instagram for the most updated details.
26. What help do you provide new adopters?
We are happy to talk through any concerns you may have while you and your new family member are settling in. We can help you understand the behaviours you may encounter from different animals and what’s normal. For example, many adopters choose a puppy as their first ever dog, but are surprised when it nips at their fingers or ankles and mistake the behaviour as aggression instead of standard puppy behaviour. We will do our best to explain what we can and offer training tips or suggestions as needed.
27. I want to rehome my animal. What is the procedure?
Please contact us directly and let us know the reason why you are surrendering your animal. We will need its full history, including medical and will need to know when you wish to rehome. We will ask you to fill in a rehoming questionnaire and pay a rehoming fee of $1500. We do not charge adopters an adoption fee in cases of private rehoming.
28. What if it doesn’t work out?
If you are doing an adoption trial with an animal and realise that it is not going well, let us know. The point of an adoption trial is to ensure that the animal fits into your family without too many issues. If it isn’t working, we will take the animal back and if you are still interested in adopting, work with you to find a more suitable animal.
If you have already adopted an animal from us and have decided later down the line that it is not working out, let us know. We sincerely hope that all adopters are able to provide a home for life when they adopt an animal from us and we work to ensure that by means of the Adoption Questionnaire. However, we know that even with the best intentions, some of our animals may be returned. We will work to rehome any animal originally adopted from TAILS but will require a rehoming fee of $1500.
29. Where does the money I donate go?
TAILS has been established to promote the proper treatment and caring of animals. A key activity that TAILS undertakes is the rescue and care of animals in need. It also helps facilitate the adoption of animals to loving homes. As a volunteer-run organization, all donations received – 100% of the funds – go directly to the needs of the animals in line with the above objectives.
30. What can I do if I see an animal in need?
Get as much information as you can about the animal – location, size, problem, temperament, who is around, even photos if possible. Then let us know and we will do what we can to help.
31. I contacted you about an animal in need previously but nothing happened… why?
In some cases, it may seem that we have not responded to your notification, but in reality, we do a lot of work behind the scenes. We are aware that not everyone may react well to the police appearing at their door questioning their treatment of an animal so we work closely with the community in Lantau to educate people about the correct way to treat animals. We have a wonderful network of supporters who are invaluable in helping us when there are animals in need within our community. We take all cases of animal neglect, cruelty and mistreatment seriously and will follow up with each notification, even if it appears nothing is happening.