Monday, July 18, 2011

Doggone it!

Buffalo Wilbur and I were having lunch when we saw four census takers walking past.

"Don't they look awfully young and inexperienced to you?" Buffalo Wilbur fretted. "They look like undergraduates taking part in orientation."

We went back to our lunch and thought nothing of it until this report in The Standard:

Dog sends census pair packing

Monday, July 18, 2011

Two young census officers were injured when they panicked and fell down a slope after being chased by dogs on Lantau yesterday.

The two, a 21-year-old man surnamed Lee and a 20-year-old woman named Mok, scraped their hands and legs and were sent to Mui Wo outpatient clinic.

The accident happened at 28 Tung Wan Tau Road near the Methodist Conference Centre at about 3pm.

After interviewing a resident named Leung, the two were walking up a 150-meter stretch of stone steps to see another woman, named Lee.

But as they approached the house - which has many dogs - one of the animals barked and chased the pair.

They ran but fell down the moss- covered ramp next to the steps before escaping to the Methodist center.

Lee and Mok, who are from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, are responsible for the Cheung Chau and Mui Wo areas.

Another census officer, who asked not to be named, said there is no training for staff on how to protect themselves against dogs.

However, they have been told not to confront dogs. If they sense danger, they are told to flee.

They are also advised to take along an umbrella and could also ask for an anti-dog device but they have to apply for it.

Lee and Mok had brought anti-dog devices and had been taught how to use them during training sessions that lasted between eight and 16 hours.

A government spokesman said groups of census officers are sent to rural areas. Once there, they

work in pairs.

Yesterday was the second day of the second census phase, which requires officers to conduct face-to-face interviews with households that had not submitted questionnaires by mail or online.

Postal service workers are another group often exposed to the dangers of dog attacks, especially on rural routes.

However, Hongkong Post employees are learning how to deal with problem dogs.

Dog trainer and principal of Hong Kong K-9 Academy Lewis Sum runs a workshop with his assistant, a six-year- old German shepherd named Felix.

During the one-day course, postmen learn not to scold or hit a barking dog, but instead remain still and not show fear.

"Dogs bark or even attack to protect their territories, and postmen usually drop off letters and leave," he said. "This gives the dog satisfaction as it believes its barking caused the intruder to retreat."


What were the census department folks thinking, sending out kids (townies too by the look of it) to do the census?

These youngsters have absolutely no idea what they're getting themselves into - fierce dogs and grumpy hermits who don't want to fill up census forms are par for the course in villages. There may even be a murderer or two out there too if you look closely enough.

Worse, they might encounter a buffalo...

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