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Dozens of tearful animal lovers gathered at the park in Central in which a spate of poisonings have taken place over the last month, as the death of one small shih

tzu cross on Friday night brought the toll to seven cats and four dogs.

The death is part of a series of poisonings of pets and strays in or around Pak Tsz Lane Park off Aberdeen Street, sparking animal rights campaigners and politicians to press for more protection of animals, including a dedicated section of the police force to deal with such crimes.

Spearheading the Legislative Council’s first committee on animal rights, Civic Party member Claudia Mo Man-ching compared this years’ deaths with the unsolved Bowen Road poisonings which rocked pet owners for years, criticising the police for failing to address and resolve the issue at the time.

“This is just Bowen Road part two ... The police couldn’t care less [about animals],” Mo said, describing how calls to install CCTV cameras and have the area patrolled were rejected on the grounds of privacy and limited resources.

READ MORE: A new Bowen Road? Hong Kong cats and dogs die after suspected poisonings in Soho

Mo is pushing for a separate branch of the police to be trained to respond to crimes against animals in a city in which she said tensions bubbling between rich and poor were being taken out on pets.

“People sometimes ask me why I’m fighting for animal rights when people aren’t being taken care of,” she said.

“I think the wealth divide is prompting people [to engage in animal abuse]”, she said, adding that Hong Kong was not particularly “animal-friendly”.

“We’re all very upset, we don’t know why anyone would want to kill our dogs,” said Betty Grisoni, clutching a teapot terrier under her arm near the spot where her friend Ann Zhang’s two dogs ate chicken laced with rat poison last month. The animals died.

Others attending the protest to draw attention to the issue and extend support to Zhang ­expressed outrage and disgust at what they described as “vindictive” and “malicious” attempts to kill off dogs and cats.

READ MORE: Pet owners should beware of thousand-dollar dog baths, warns Hong Kong Consumer Council

Zhang, who organised the protest, said she was planning to file a police report and had complained to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department for its failure to better enforce pest control measures.

“It’s bad enough that dogs are being killed, but what if a child [comes near the poison],” Zhan added, saying she had been ­traumatised by the deaths of her dogs.

Deliberate efforts to harm animals contravene animal cruelty laws in Hong Kong.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department did not respond to questions from the Sunday Morning Post on whether the Pak Tsz Lane Park poisonings would be investigated.

Asked to comment, police said they had yet to receive a formal complaint.