Blanket dog bans on estates punishing owners

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 March, 2016, 12:16am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 March, 2016, 12:16am

I am a former resident of Hong Kong and refer to the letter by Joan Miyaoka (“It is morally wrong to ban dog ownership in housing estates”, March 18).

Dogs are considered to be “man’s best friend”, not only because of their never failing loyalty, but also for the friendship and companionship this fantastic animal offers to so many people around the world.

Not only can we teach them to sit and walk on a dog lead, but dogs are often trained to do so much more.

Police dogs are trained to sense danger and protect us. Assistance dogs are trained to protect and even save their owners, and guide dogs are trained to lead their master. They are trained for so many different functions, but the one key aspect they share in common is their loyalty.

I was interested by the responses on your online edition from some readers to Ms Miyaoka’s letter.

Although I can see and understand some comments from people still living in Hong Kong, we need to remember that we cannot blame all the dogs in the city for the actions of some dog owners.

The fact is, a dog only reflects its owner and is affected by the lack in knowledge of some people in its surroundings.

I agree with what one reader (“epicentre”) said, that dog ownership is a privilege, not a right.

I think it is definitely the case that a lot of people do not know how to look after a pet properly. They should not be allowed to take care of an animal.

However, I do not believe that housing estates in Hong Kong can issue an order to residents simply “throw ing out” all dogs, because there are a few dog-owning residents who are consistently failing to live up to the responsibilities that come with being the owner of an animal.

Dogs are an important part of all societies. As I said, they offer mental and physical support for many people who really need that help.

What really matters is that dog owners and non-dog owners discuss the matter and reach an agreement which both sides are happy with.

If a dog owner is not acting in a responsible manner, and because of that is causing a nuisance and disturbance for fellow residents of an estate, that owner must be singled out so that the problem can be addressed. However, it is not fair that because of that person’s actions, responsible animal lovers, who are not creating any problems in the estate, are punished.

We need to keep remembering how good dogs can be for people. This has been proved scientifically.

Caroline Hansson, Stockholm, Sweden