Residents protest over rule change to bar pets

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 November, 2010, 12:00am

Dog-loving residents of The Pacifica, a private housing estate in Lai Chi Kok, protested yesterday over an amendment to the property owners covenant that barred them from keeping pets.

They were joined by Civic Party West Kowloon branch chairwoman Claudia Mo Man-ching who asked why Banyan Garden, another private housing estate in the district run by the same management company, Citybase, had allowed residents to keep pets. 'The amendment is even harsher than rules in public housing estates,' she said

One of the dog owners, Jason Mang Man-kong, said he and his wife lived at The Pacifica for five years. 'The developers told us that keeping dogs was allowed here, so we moved in,' he said. However, he was told last month that his dog could no longer stay. 'My dog is like a son to my wife. I couldn't bear to see her cry. She was so troubled that she could not sleep,' he said.

There are about 100 pet owners on the estate.

In September, the incorporated owners of The Pacifica passed an amendment to the deed of mutual covenant requiring residents to submit applications not only to the property management, but also to the incorporated owners if they wanted to keep pets. Mang said he submitted an application immediately.

However, in October, he received a letter from the property management saying that keeping a dog was against the rules, as he had not received consent. It told him to remove the dog in 14 days or face legal action.

He wrote a letter asking them to reconsider his application, but this was rejected a week later by the property management without giving a reason. He has since sold his flat.

It states in the management contracts that residents must seek consent if they want to keep pets.

When the incorporated owners committee chairman Lai Chi-leung turned up at the protest rally yesterday, an elderly resident, Chu Wai-yung, demanded to know why her application was rejected. 'I can't live without my dog,' she said.

Lai said a balance should be struck between the rights of residents to keep pets and those who do not, but he would not say what criteria was used in deciding on applications.