Critics hound dog regulations

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 July, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 July, 1999, 12:00am

The proposed Dangerous Dogs Regulation was attacked by dog lovers yesterday.

The Government has proposed classifying dogs weighing more than 20kg as large dogs.

At indoor public areas such dogs would require a muzzle and would have to be kept on a lead while in outdoor public places they would need a lead. Exemptions can be granted upon the dog passing an exam to test its discipline and response to orders.

At a Legco subcommittee meeting, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals disagreed that dogs weighing 20kg were large. It was concerned that such labelling would further worsen public fear of dogs.

Neil McLaughlin, the local representative of British-based animal welfare charity Puppy Watch, said: 'There is no factual basis that dogs over a certain weight are aggressive.' Liu Kwei-kin, assistant director of the Agriculture and Fisheries Department, said the Government had to balance both public interests and canine welfare.

'The primary consideration of this regulation is to safeguard the public,' Mr Liu said.

Dog lovers said the proposed regulation was a piecemeal policy and neglected abandoned dogs.

Wai Kee-shun, chartered president of the Hong Kong and Kowloon Kennel Association, said: 'Dogs which bite people are mainly stray dogs. But the Government does nothing on this.' Mr Liu said records showed that most dog bite cases were not caused by strays, and the department had succeeded in catching stray dogs at certain black spots.