It makes sense in high-density HK for housing estates to impose dog ban

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 July, 2012, 12:00am


I am fond of dogs, but I have become dismayed by supposed Hong Kong dog lovers and their lack of appreciation of the fact that the majority of Hong Kong dwellings are inappropriate environments for dogs.

With the exception of the smallest toy breeds, dogs require considerable living space and exercise. Coupled with unsuitable flat size is the relative lack of green space to provide this exercise.

Joan Miyaoka ('Dog-free estates are wrong', July 1) correctly states that in 'a free society no one should be allowed to rob anyone else of the freedom to choose'. However, she has the freedom to choose to not reside in any dog-free estate. Meanwhile, the very freedom she demands intrudes on the rights of those people who find keeping dogs in high-density estates utterly incomprehensible.

Every civilised city in the world bans large pets from public transport, supermarkets and most public spaces. The simple fact is these animals come second to the health and well-being of the general public.

A dog-free estate is a necessary adaptation to this issue to account for Hong Kong's extremely high density living. Having such animals in an estate affects all tenants.

For example, I take the stairs in my building for exercise and to avoid the lift. This is because in the confines of the lift, there can be as many as four large dogs. They are often poorly kept, smell bad and are seldom controlled by their minders. These dogs sniff crotches and slobber into the shopping bags of tenants. In my building's stairwell, the charming sight and smell of dog urine is common. Occasionally, I will also have the pleasure of seeing canine excrement on the stairs.

While walking my children to school I always see dog faeces and off-leash dogs. My youngest daughter is terrified of large dogs. Ms Miyaoka may claim that this 'sad mental state' is 'passed on from parent to child', yet my daughter is terrified because she can be confronted by a fanged (aggressive) animal larger than herself and barking loudly. In cities of less dense housing, animals have dedicated and contained areas where they can run freely in a controlled environment.

Hong Kong dog owners may be well-meaning, but they lack the perspective to appreciate the importance of keeping their pet responsibly. This includes the considered choice not to own a dog in such an unsuitable, crowded urban environment.

Justin O'Brien, Discovery Bay