It is morally wrong to ban dog ownership in housing estates

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 March, 2016, 5:02pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 March, 2016, 6:18pm

Perry Lam is right (“Is Hong Kong losing its moral compass after Mong Kok riot?”, March 4). Basic moral principles enable people to get along and live together peacefully, and these principles include respect for life as well as the rule of law.

Using the law to disrespect life is immoral but, hamstrung by old deeds of mutual covenant stating “no dogs allowed”, dog owners in estates are being persecuted by home owners’ committees if dominated by those who dislike dogs. To be told to evict them after years of enjoying their company is nothing short of animal cruelty.

Very old dogs face being needlessly euthanised because of words on a page. These committees can more or less do whatever they like because the Buildings Management Ordinance has more holes in it than Swiss cheese.

The deed of mutual covenant is a hot potato. Mention it and the immediate reaction is “So sorry, but nothing can be done”. Our Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has dogs, his wife is patron of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and its mission is to promote kindness to animals. It is time something was done and it must start with the judiciary.

Dog owners should be allowed to keep their dogs regardless of what an outdated deed of mutual covenant says. The SPCA recently formed the Alliance for Animal Friendly Housing, requesting the Housing Authority to undertake a full review of its policy on dog keeping as the government itself is committed to an overall “animal friendly policy”.Dog owners in private estates are at the mercy of incorporated owners’ committees, comprising people who do not have a shred of guilt about the distress their actions cause. The ignorant excuse “my mother is afraid of dogs, so all dogs must go”, is not a valid reason for dog removal.

Common sense must prevail. Lawyers use clever tactics to win cases and dogs are the innocent victims. This is not justice.

Hong Kong markets itself as an international city, but by forcing dogs to be removed from decent homes, we prove ourselves uncivilised.

Animal organisations must support dog owners in private estates as well as those in public housing. It is morally wrong that an old legal document can be used to destroy the lives of residents whose only crime is to love their dog.

Joan Miyaoka, Sha Tin